A BRADFORD schoolgirl selected for an aid trip to South Africa is shaving off all her hair to raise funds for the charity venture.

Holly Buchan, 17, will spend a year helping children living in poverty and in care. She was one of 300 young people from across the UK chosen by educational charity Project Trust after completing a tough selection process.

Holly, from Baildon, has raised nearly £5,000 towards her target of £6,200 from a series of events, including a quiz night and a craft stall. Now the teenager is set to have her head shaved at a race night she’s organising. She will donate her hair to the Little Princesses charity which provides real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair through cancer or other illnesses. “It will be rewarding to donate my hair, it's a way of helping other children through my fundraising,” said Holly. “It’s something I really want to do. As I near my target, I’m thinking about how rewarding it will be make an impact within a community once I’m in South Africa. I think the biggest challenge will be being away from my home and family, but I know while I’m out there I'll meet people who will accept me and treat me as family.”

Holly, who will travel to South Africa this summer, is a keen footballer - she plays for Farsley Celtic Ladies football team - and plans to set up a children's football team in South Africa. "Sport is my passion, I think it’s really important to get young people into sport,” she said. 

She heard about Project Trust when someone from the charity did a presentation at Sir Titus Salt School, where she is doing A-levels. The charity offers voluntary work opportunities for young people aged 17-19, including teaching, social care and outward bound projects. Working with partners overseas, Project Trust puts volunteers’ skills to use in communities, building on work being done by local people.

Holly said learning about people in communities where the charity works has made her more appreciative of what she has. “A lot of young people in South Africa are affected by issues such as HIV and AIDS, and gang violence. I want to make a difference to those who have grown up in care,” she said. “We take so much for granted in this country - we turn a tap on and we have water, we have working toilets, we can have a shower whenever we like.”

Holly will stay with a host family and in a hostel with other young volunteers. “We’ll be in deprived communities in rural and urban areas,” she said. “I’ll be doing some teaching work in primary and secondary schools, and social care projects with children who are at risk from gangs, or who don’t have older role models."

* Holly will be having her hair shaved at a race night, with a "funky headwear" theme, at Baildon Rugby Club on Friday, March 2, starting at 7pm.

* Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HollyBuchan