I was only 12 years old when I first noticed patches starting to appear on my scalp. They seemed to start on the back of my head near the hairline. The hair had disappeared and I had not noticed it going.

Until then I had lovely straight brown hair in a bob style. For a few years afterwards, the patches came and went in different areas of my scalp. With the help of my mother, we were able to spread the other hair over the patches to camouflage them. There was not always re-growth, but where there was, the hair came back white. We kept thinking that eventually the problem would go, but it never did. It just went gradually worse. The patches eventually became larger and it was more and more difficult to cover them.

During this time, we went to many different dermatologists and tried various remedies, but nothing worked. Steroids caused the hair to grow back over some of the patches but as soon as I finished the steroids the hair disappeared again. I tried lotions to rub into the scalp which had minimal effect.

I found the situation very difficult as I was going through my teens and this was the last thing I had ever dreamed would happen. It was not vanity but only that I wanted to be the same as everyone else. It was a very emotional time.

Then, one evening, a neighbour called round and confided in us about her problem. She said she had thinning hair and had been everywhere to find a good quality wig. She had bought a number of wigs from different suppliers and had been very disappointed, feeling that they did not look natural. I said I did not know why she was worried as her hair was beautiful. We had no idea she was wearing a wig, but she was so excited that it looked so real that she wanted to know if we would notice.

That was the turning point for me. I told her about my problem and she said she would give me the phone number of Wig Specialities in London and advised me to speak to Richard. By now I was 20 years old and desperate to get something sorted. I always felt it would get better and never, ever wanted to wear a wig. That was until I saw this neighbour and was amazed at how natural her hair looked.

I phoned and spoke to Richard the next day, and told him what had happened. He was wonderful and sympathetic but confident he could resolve my problem. He said he did a lot of work for patients who had lost their hair through medical conditions as well as for those in theatre and television. The appointment was made, thankfully he saw us very quickly and as soon as I met him I felt that the problem was taken from me and I knew he would get me over this hurdle.

On arrival I found his hair studio adorned with pictures and posters of stage productions and films which he has worked on. The first appointment took about two hours; Richard is a perfectionist. He made a mould of my head so that the wig would fit perfectly.

The wigs are all real hair and handmade. Four weeks later we were off down to London again for the fitting and collection of the wig. It was fascinating. The hair was really long on the wig and Richard cut it while it was on my head, as if it were my own hair. It was amazing. Richard is so enthusiastic, and his sense of humour makes you relax the moment you meet him. For the first time in years I felt really feminine again.

CHARLOTTE 065 aFrom the moment I started with the hair loss I was shy and withdrawn at school. I was frightened to participate in class activities in case it drew attention to me and anyone noticed my problem. I was now free at last from all that, thanks to Richard.

Over the past 12 years, I have visited Richard for new wigs on a number of occasions. Penny, the office manager, makes my mother and I feel at home as soon as we arrive and Richard treats my mother and I like old friends. This is not just for us. Richard is the same kind, sincere person to all his clients, be they people suffering from hair loss due to medical conditions or the rich and famous.

I am now married and have a lovely husband and a 3½ year-old son and another baby on the way. I am confident and very happy thanks to Richard.

To anyone who is suffering from hair loss, don’t keep suffering there is no need, life is too short. Accept what is happening and do something about it and you are on your way to a new life.