A VOLUNTEER has dyed her hair blue and paraded through Colchester High Street as a visual thank you to a mental health charity.

Sharon Cretten, who is 65, spent two hours having her locks turned a vibrant blue all to raise money for Mind.

The charity helped Sharon and her husband, Paul, when they were at their lowest and facing homelessness.

The couple were assisted by the team who helped them access council housing as they charity can nominate those in need.

Sharon, who has suffered with stress and anxiety, hopes her gesture will send a big thank you back to the charity.

The Age UK volunteer said: “Without Mind we had no hope.

“They have given us a second chance. A lot of people who are around 65 only have a state pension and they lose their homes. They don’t want to go on benefits.

“We saw the right person at the right time.”

The couple have faced a number of set backs over the years with Sharon losing her job and Paul suffering a heart attack and stroke.

It meant the pair needed a specially adapted home to help care for Paul.

The couple ended up in Ipswich but the situation had taken its toll on Sharon who was put on anti-depressants and had counselling with Mind.

She said: “People suffer in different ways and some people take their lives or hurt themselves.

“It is a silent condition - people can’t see you are stressed or have anxiety.

“It might just be a smile from someone or a good morning which could help. You just don’t know.

“Thanks to that one lady we are here and I can joke about it.

“If I could meet her I’d give her a big hug.”

Sharon had her hair dyed at Mane Attraction in Bromley Road, Colchester, and then walked through the high street while wearing her Mind fundraising t-shirt.

She is now planning a series of fundraising days to raise as much money as possible.

Paul said he was incredibly proud of Sharon.

“I don’t know what I would have done without her,” he said.

“I just want to say a big thank you to Mind, I don’t know what we were going to do.”