He is an internationally famous hairdresser with salons around the world. Celebrity stylist Trevor Sorbie is used to the great and the good asking him to snip their locks and even had to turn down the Queen because of his busy schedule.
But now Trevor, 69, who has lived in the fast lane most of his life, has decided to slow down.
He’s adamant he’s not retiring but has taken the decision to use his skills to give something back, rather than focusing all his energies on his six salons.
He now splits his time between his London flat and the home he shares in Alverstoke, Gosport, with wife Carole and their beloved King Charles spaniel, Lisbon.
‘I don’t believe in the word “retirement”, it’s not for me’ says Trevor as he explains how he will be dedicating more time to his charity mynewhair.
It was set up in 2006 in memory of his sister-in-law Jackie Anders who lost her hair through cancer treatment.
‘She asked me if I could get her a wig so she could still look attractive for my brother’, says Trevor.
‘I bought a wig, put it on her, and it just looked like a wig. I customised and it looked more natural – she burst into tears of joy.
‘At that moment the penny dropped for me and I stopped cutting hair and started cutting wigs.’
Since the inception of mynewhair, Trevor has trained more than 600 hair stylists to cut wigs.
And he says a big part of the training is communication.
‘It’s just as important as cutting a wig’, says Trevor. ‘You’re dealing with ladies who are in a very vulnerable place in their lives. You need to be delicate, you don’t start a conversation with “where are you going on holiday?”.
‘They will be emotional. So wig cutting is not for every hairdresser.’
Trevor and Carole have converted a room in their home into a luxury – but relaxing – space for women to have their wigs customised.
They always encourage ladies to bring a friend for support and are flexible with times because they understand that cancer treatment can mean they are too ill to attend an appointment.
Mynewhair doesn’t supply wigs and some of those brought in to be styled can cost thousands of pounds. So Trevor feels a huge responsibility to ensure he gets the cut just right. Wig cutting is a specialist skill.
He says: ‘I don’t charge a penny for my services but what I do get in payment are thank-you cards.’
And they fill the walls of the wig room, jostling for space with pictures of Trevor with the Queen accepting his MBE, honorary doctorate and many other awards.
Carole, who met her husband 12 years ago through the charity, says she is often the first port of call after a patient has spoken to their doctor.
‘For women, their hair gives them confidence, femininity and losing it can affect their relationship with family and friends simply because they don’t know how to talk to someone who has lost their hair’, says Carole, 52, who is a former hairdresser herself.
‘It is so important to us that they feel safe and comfortable here.’
Trevor’s life now is a world away from the hectic celebrity lifestyle.
His flagship Covent Garden salon opened in 1979 and it was a revolving door of the coolest actors and pop stars of the day, desperate to have their hair done by the stylist at the forefront of hair innovation.
Toyah Wilcox, Adam Ant, Suzi and the Banshees, Grace Jones and even Dame Helen Mirren have all had the Trevor Sorbie treatment on their tresses.
But Trevor, now a grandfather, admits such a fast-paced lifestyle led to depression and that’s why the couple bought their pup Lisbon, who he credits, along with Carole and his charity, with getting him through the dark times.
He says: ‘I’m world-famous, but this (mynewhair) means more to me. God gave me a gift and I've used it pretty well up until now.
‘This is perhaps the most important part of that gift.
‘And I’m using it to help people.
‘I’m 70 in March and I don’t have the energy I did 20 or 30 years ago.
‘I’m doing this at my pace in my own home. In a way I hope I don’t get any calls.’
And he adds: ‘This is not a gimmick and I don’t make one penny from this – I give my time for free and willingly.
‘Everybody knows someone who has been affected by cancer and if I can touch a lot of hearts, especially in this day and age, by helping others, I think that is something very special.’
Free service by world-famous hair stylist
More than 800 salons are now part of the mynewhair network.
Trevor has teamed up with L’Oreal to offer training to hundreds of hairdressers.
Mynewhair has linked up with the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, which has a large oncology department, and will also be listed on the charity’s website. Patients can be referred to Trevor for free wig customisation at his Gosport home.
The charity has produced a booklet of advice and information in conjunction with the Department of Health and the Institute of Trichologists, and is available in many NHS hospitals.
The Patient Information Resource booklet provides advice and support for patients if they lose their hair, advice on choosing a wig, having it styled to suit, as well as information with regards to aftercare/hair re-growth.
To book an appointment with Trevor for wig customisation following medical hair loss, email firstname.lastname@example.org For more information visit mynewhair.org or via Twitter @ mynewhairorg, or follow the charity on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also donate by texting MYNH00, followed by the amount you wish to donate, to 70070.