Hartlepool mum who suffered heartbreak of death of son wins £500 salon makeover

A hard-working mum who suffered the heartbreak of the death of one of her children has been selected as the winner of a competition to receive an ultimate makeover.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 7:00 am

Cheryl Picken has had a traumatic year after the death of her son Benji Catchpole, 15, who tragically took his own life last May.

To mark the reopening of salons after lockdown Vikki Ryan, who runs a salon in Lister Street, offered a complete makeover worth £500 to one deserving person in conjunction with the Mail.

The competition attracted scores of worthy entries with Cheryl, 41, of Foggy Furze, Hartlepool nominated by numerous people for the prize.

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Cheryl and Benji.
Cheryl and Benji.

A friend of hers told how in addition to the unimaginable pain of losing Benji, she has been unable to work during lockdown at her own salon and yet continues to stay positive for her other two children, Leo, nine, and Brandon, aged 19.

The friend said: “Cheryl deserves this so much, after losing Benjamin and Brandon’s dad quite a few year back, then finding love in Leo’s dad years later then losing him too, it’s been such a traumatic and heartbreaking few years for Cheryl but this year has been the whole lot worse.”

Salon owner Vikki agreed she was a worthy winner for the pampering.

On being informed Cheryl said: “I’m gobsmacked, I honestly can’t believe it.

Vikki Ryan outside her salon in Lister Street, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

"There are so many people in Hartlepool who could have won. I’m really looking forward to it instead of me doing it on other people.”

Benji’s death came as a huge shock to his family and friends as it was so out of character.

Cheryl said: “It’s still surreal. I just wake up thinking it’s not real and then you realise it is.

"It’s just something you would never comprehend having to go through. It was so out of the blue and such a random thing for him to do.”

Benji attended Manor Community Academy and was a highly-valued member of the Hartlepool army cadets (Rifles Detachment).

The Mail thanks everyone who took the time to submit entries and to Vikki for running it in conjunction with us.

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