Schoolboy Rean Carter, 5, Gets His First Haircut (PICTURES)
Five-year-old schoolboy Rean Carter has never had his hair cut since the day he was born.
The youngster's flaxen curls are so long they tumble below the line of his belt and must be tied up at school.
But his locks are set for the chop after Rean, sick of being mistaken for a girl, demanded a trip to the barber.
Heartbroken mother Leeanne Smith said the haircut would be sponsored for charity.
The 30-year-old, of Hylton Castle, Sunderland, said: "When Rean was born he had a lovely little curl of golden hair at the back of his head.
"I just could never bear to get it cut, not even his fringe.
"Now it flows all the way down his back to his bum and is very beautiful and soft.
"When we go out he is often mistaken for a little girl - people say 'Isn't she gorgeous' - but it has never bothered him; he just laughs.
"It was only when he joined school and had to have it tied back in a ponytail, for health and safety, that some of the other little boys began to make fun.
"They said he could not play with them because he looked like a girl.
"I've already cried at the thought of him having it cut, and will cry again when it actually happens."
The youngster has raised £82 in sponsorship for the stunt, from friends, relatives, and classmates in his reception class at Grange Park Primary school, in Sunderland.
The money will be donated to Sunderland Royal Hospital children's unit, where Ryan was admitted for a week-and-a-half in 2010, suffering from impetigo.
Mother-of-two Leeanne, who works as a party organiser for Ann Summers, said the shorn locks would then be donated to a cancer charity.
She and partner Neil Carter, 48, a painter and decorator, have never measured exactly how long the golden tresses are.
She said: "Rean gets his curly hair from Neil's side of the family.
"He said he wants it shorter, and spiky on top, like his friend Joseph.
"The barber will be under strict instructions not to take too much off. There will be no use of clippers.
"I've told him that he will have it cut by Easter or if not by then during the Easter holidays when he's off.
"I don't wish he was a little girl and I don't see him that way, though I would love a daughter.
"He is a proper little boy who likes Scooby Doo and cars and is getting into football.
"His little brother Regan, who is two, has the same hair. I'll let his grow and then when he gets to Rean's age we can auction his off too."