A SOLIHULL woman who couldn’t face shaving her hair off for charity instead chose to raise money being punched in a boxing match in memory of her best friend.
Laura White who dresses as a princess at weekends for children’s parties and had never played sports in her life and raised £1,615 for Cancer Research UK in honour of Annie Benton.
Annie died of cervical cancer on July 25, 2015, seven months after giving birth to a baby boy, and days before her dream wedding.
She was diagnosed after doctors discovered her baby, Wyatt, was resting on a tumour in her womb.
Deciding to marry long-term partner Scott, Annie had a hen party on June 30, 2015, when she made Laura and fellow hens swear they would shave off their hair to raise money for charity if she died.
Laura was determined to do something in her memory when 25-year-old Annie died just three weeks later.
After seeing an advert for Ultra White Collar Boxing, which raises money for Cancer Research UK on Facebook the marketing executive at an insurance company signed up for a three-round fight.
Despite losing the bout Laura insisted she didn’t regret her decision.
Laura said: “My hair is quite literally what I see as my crowning glory.
“It’s very long and thick and is always the first thing that people that meet me comment on, often asking whether or not I’m wearing extensions.
“Because of that, I do feel like it’s a massive part of my identity and am not sure how I would feel if that was gone.
“I had spoken to my hairdresser, and she said my hair might not grow back the same colour or thickness, or it might come through really curly.
“But then I found Ultra White Collar Boxing online and I thought, this is still going to massively, massively challenge me, but it’s not going to alter my appearance for the rest of my life.
“I knew that as someone who always has my hair, eyelashes and nails done, taking part in a fight would be the very last thing that any would be expecting me to do.
“I spend my weekends dressing as a princess to entertain kids so walking into that gym for the first time put me further out of my comfort zone than I’d ever been.
“Initially, the only thing that kept me there was the thought of why I was doing it but then I started to enjoy the training and the physical challenge.”
Going under the boxing name The Mighty Whitey, the 31-year-old trained for an hour every day over eight weeks before appearing in the ring.
Laura said: “The physical side of boxing is very difficult, but the hardest bit for me was actually having to hit somebody else.
“I lost count of the times I apologised after landing a blow – it seems I needed to work on my fighting talk.
“The fight itself was the hardest physical – and mental – thing I have ever done.
“But after the training, my fitness was better than it has ever been before – I felt stronger, fitter and more confident in myself, both physically and mentally, than I have done for a long, long time.
“I can’t believe I ended up in a boxing ring, but I’m glad I did.”