A Berkhamsted barber shop has raised more than £5,000 to help victims of the recent earthquake in Turkey.
On the February morning when the natural disaster struck, Serhat Yelocagi, owner of Barberlads on Berkhamsted High Street, stepped outside for a cigarette. One of his clients, Stephen Charlton, noticed his distress, as Serhat was concerned for his friends, family and loved ones overseas.
Artist Stephen returned within an hour with one of his paintings, which he donated to the barbers on the sole condition that all the money raised from selling the artwork would go to helping those affected by the disaster.
Another client of Serhat’s, Paul Smith, purchased the painting for £3,000. A big Steve McQueen fan, Paul asked if the number on the painting could be changed from a four to a 20 to match the actor’s racing car in the 1971 film Le Mans.
Serhat said: “My family are from where the earthquakes happened. We lost a few family friends; there are so many terrible stories.”
One relation of Serhat’s went back into a destroyed house to save a trapped newborn and others. He succeeded in saving them, but became trapped and tragically lost his life.
Serhat has also set up a GoFundMe page and a collection at the shop, and has thanked all those who have donated so far.
He added: “To send more than £5,000 is a lot of money in Turkey. I know it has saved a lot of lives, as well as clothed and fed a lot of people.”
Another piece of Stephen’s artwork is on sale in the shop, with 20 per cent of the proceeds to be donated to support earthquake victims.
Donate to Serhat’s fundraiser on his GoFundMe.