A COUNTY Durham girl's ongoing battle against serious illness has inspired a barber to donate the first day's takings from his new venture to a charity which provides the youngster's family with much-needed support.

Ross Mitchell will unveil The Gentleman's Club traditional barber shop in Newgate, Barnard Castle, on Saturday, March 22.

All money paid for haircuts on the day will be given to the Rainbow Trust, which provides individually tailored support to families of a child with a life threatening condition.

Mr Mitchell chose to support the trust as a result of his longstanding friendship with Andrew Agar, whose six-year-old daughter Nicole must live with three inoperable brain tumours.

Dad-of-two Mr Mitchell, 31, from Ferryhill, who is running the barber shop with partner Sarah Deary, 22, said he hoped a busy first day would help boost the charity's coffers.

He is hoping his salon, which evokes the golden age of barber shops from the 1920s and 30s – complete with shaves using a cut-throat razor - will prove a hit with today's metrosexual male.

“At the moment, men are taking a lot more pride in their personal appearance,” he said.

“I want to create a place where people can come and relax.”

Nicole's mum, Lindsay Fitzgerald, also from Ferryhill, described Mr Mitchell's fundraising effort as a “lovely gesture.”

She said Nicole was currently enjoying a break from chemotherapy and is well enough to attend Belmont Infant School, Durham, every day apart from when she has to fulfil hospital appointments.

“She is doing really well at the moment. She will always have the tumours, it is a case of keeping them at bay," she said.

“She has a check-up every eight weeks and she is going for another scan soon.”

Nicole, who is registered blind, is also going to have an eye test to check whether she is beginning to pick up more than just the light.

Miss Fitzgerald said the family continued to receive the support of a Rainbow Trust family worker, who helps look after couple's two other children, three-year-old Brooke and two-year-old Kyle, when Nicole has to go into hospital.