Kind-hearted members of the Welwyn Garden City community have rallied behind a much-loved charity shop manager after she received the devastating news that her cancer had returned.

Sarah Bowman, manager at Scope charity shop, was exposed to asbestos while at school - and it can take up to 40 years for the cancer to appear.

Fourteen years ago, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and from the diagnosis she was given nine months to live.

In 2019 she got the all clear, but last month she felt something wasn’t right and was in pain.

She went to her doctor and was referred to hospital for tests, which confirmed her worst nightmare as the cancer had returned.

Sarah is currently waiting on further test results to find out the next steps. But while she waits, she's set her mind on raising funds for the Scope charity with a head shave - an idea that has snowballed into a major community event on June 24. 

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Scope charity shop managers Jackie Stadward, Sarah Bowman and Deborah Williams

She said: "When I had my first diagnosis 14 years ago, and told I had nine months to live, as you can imagine, I was devastated.

"I was so determined to live to the full and I’ve had 14 glorious years since, with four of those being all clear from cancer.

“One month ago I got the news that nobody wants to hear, the cancer has returned. I’m waiting for results to see what the next steps are, but it’s not my style to sit back and do nothing.

"I’ve had three and a half fantastic years working at this Scope charity shop. Everything the charity does to support disabled people and their families resonates so powerfully with me, that I decided I’d shave my hair to raise funds for Scope."

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Thanks to the support of the community, the event gone from a single head shave to a day of fun for all the family, with local businesses paying for the posters and flyers, donating funds or creating special menus on the day.

Even more support was pledged when assistant shop manager, Danielle Moles put a notice on Facebook.

Offers flooded in and the day, including from a unicycler, balloon artist, "Spider-Man" and “Mini-Mouse”, who will be coming along to help entertain children, along with face painting and a wet sponge throwing stand.

But the fundraising goes further afield, as other Scope charity shops, from Hatfield, Hertford and Slough are getting behind Sarah.

"I can’t believe the overwhelming response this fantastic community and my colleagues in other Scope shops have given," Sarah continued.

"I’m totally blown away by their love and support, I can’t thank them enough. What’s started with me shaving my head has rapidly turned into one brilliant and beautiful fundraising day with great activities for all the family and fun ways to support Scope.

“If you’re in the area, we’d love you to come along to enjoy the fun while picking up a brilliant bargain in our shop. You could even join me and get your head shaved too.

"Every penny raised will help Scope to run vital support services for disabled people and their families. 

If you’d like to donate to Scope you can visit my Go Fund Me page. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday 24 June.”

The event takes place at the Scope store in Church Road from 10am to 4pm. To donate online, go to