LEGENDARY Barnsley barber Tony Batty has become a well-known character for his community-spirited exploits.
Tony – who runs Tony’s Barbers on Racecommon Road – has been travelling across the town to give gifts to hospitalised children to make sure they can enjoy the holidays as much as anyone else, as well as helping to reduce the prevalence of knives on the town’s streets.
“It all started a few years ago when this gent with cancer came to get his hair done,” said Tony.
“He’d not left the house in six months so getting out and having a shave really helped him feel refreshed.”
Since then Tony would visit hospitals to provide free hair cuts for patients and to this day he provides a free service to anyone with a terminal illness.
When lockdown began back in 2020 Tony stepped up his game and became Barnsley Hospital’s staff Santa and Easter Bunny.
In the three years since he’s taken on the role he’s managed to deliver around 15,000 presents with no plans on slowing down.
“When I started I didn’t realise it would upset me so much.
“Last year I was dressed as Santa and visiting this house – there’s this young lad about six inside with pipes coming from his mouth.
“They go through so much, it’s great to be able to dress up and help.”
His work has brought smiles to faces of children across the borough – ensuring that no matter their situation they can still find joy.
He has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award in the Community Hero category by Jane Mills, of Barnsley Hospital Charity, who said: “Tony is the driving force that’s ensuring children across the borough have a gift at Easter and Christmas.
“Supported by other volunteers they have gifted Barnsley Hospital Charity amazing presents – the big hearted team are absolutely amazing, co-ordinating a phenomenal organisation of toys for families who need them most.
“We can’t say thank you enough to Tony, the team and everyone across Barnsley who supports the appeal.”
On finding out about being nominated, Tony added: “It’s great – I’m truly honoured.”