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Ian Sinclair (seated) had his first hair cut in over two years, on April 30 at the Tara Legion, while raising money for a good cause. Before getting to work, stylist Gwen Merriam (left) created five ponytails and invited others to take a turn with the scissors. Arran Elderslie Mayor Steve Hammell and Ian's wife Edith Sinclair were among those to take advantage of the opportunity. Jennifer O'Reilly photo.

Hub Staff

Square Deal Neil's Ian Sinclair had not had his hair cut since before the pandemic began, over two years ago, that is until last night, April 30, when friends and family gathered at the Tara Legion for the grand event.

Sinclair saw it as an opportunity to raise money for a good cause and chose the Canadian Mental Health Association of Grey Bruce as his charity of choice.

"I remember March 12, 2020, well," began Sinclair's post on his "Pony(tail) Up for CMHA Grey Bruce" fundraising page at He had been at the Tara Curling Club when someone announced that minor hockey was shutting down for the season due to the pandemic. "And then closures snowballed to schools and all social settings being closed. It seemed unbelievable but was true," continued Sinclair.

His last hair cut had been in January, 2020 before his stylist, Gwen Merriam, headed south for a couple of months. By the time she returned to a shut down salon due to COVID restrictions in late March, Sinclair had decided that his hair would not see scissors again until the pandemic was over.

Two years and 12 inches of hair later, the pandemic is far from "over" but with restrictions finally lifting and people seeing "a light at the end of the tunnel," as Sinclair expressed April 30, it was time nonetheless.

On his fundraising page, Sinclair said his hair has been a source of comic relief in an otherwise bleak COVID world. His daughter, Heather suggested that his wife, Edith cut it in his sleep, his four-year-old granddaughter Lia called him "Grandma" and his 98-year-old mother Lorraine, who sadly passed away before being able see the result of Merriam's handiwork, referred to it as "horsey hair."

The April 30 event saw a packed house with drinks and food, and a few audience participation improv games, using Sinclair as the theme, presented by event emcee Jennifer O'Reilly.

Before getting the cut underway, Merriam created a handful of ponytails and invited those in attendance to take a crack at the cutting. Among those who stepped up were Arran Elderslie Mayor Steve Hammell, longtime friend Bruce Funston and Mills Home Hardware owner Randy Mills, each paying for the privilege with a cash donation. Ian's wife and son, Edith and Michael Sinclair, also revelled in the opportunity to finally cut some of Ian's luscious locks.

Following the completion of his new 'do, Sinclair offered thanks to those in attendance and informed the crowd that donations had come in from "all over Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Illinois, USA."

"I need to apologize to Gwen, my stylist, for the pain and suffering she had to endure because of people asking her about my hair," quipped Sinclair. "Not to mention her loss of income over the last two years," he added, before thanking her for a job well done.

He thanked his family and grandchildren for putting up all the jokes about his hair. "Of course they were responsible for many of those jokes," he said, giving special thanks to his "lovely and talented wife, Edith, for putting up with my hair, especially first thing in the morning," and for her help in making this event a success.

Sinclair also gave thanks to CMHA Grey Bruce for helping to facilitate the raising of the funds, the Tara Legion for hosting the event and everyone who contributed and supported the cause. 

With donations still coming in on Sunday and more expected to arrive in the coming days, Sinclair can take time to get accustomed to his fresh buzz and celebrate in knowing that, at the time of publishing, the campaign had raised $12,550 for CMHA Grey Bruce.

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A before shot with Ian Sinclair (right), his wife Edith, and two of their children, Laura (left) and Michael. Jennifer O'Reilly photo

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Ian's son Michael took advantage of the opportunity to cut one of Ian's ponytails. Jennifer O'Reilly photo

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Arran Elderslie Mayor Steve Hammell paid for the opportunity snipping some of Sinclair's hair with a cash donation. Jennifer O'Reilly photo

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With Gwen Merriam putting the finishing touches to his fresh new look, Sinclair enjoyed a lollipop given to him by friends Bruce and Sherry Funston, reminiscent of a long-ago practice by former and longtime Tara barber, Jimmy Miller. Jennifer O'Reilly photo