COVENTRY’S Marie Jenks was among a team of bald women who beat the BBCTV quiz show’s ‘Eggheads’ – and helped raise awareness of the hair-loss condition Alopecia.
The BBC2 show hosted by Jeremy Vine last week (March 17) featured the team of five which, against the odds, scooped the show’s £29,000 cash prize.
It will help fund charity work by Alopecia UK for sufferers of the auto-immune condition.
They took on the show’s regular ‘eggheads’ – know-alls billed as ‘possibly the greatest quiz team in Britain’.
The contest came down to a humorous but apt quiz question: “What colour is the head of the eagle known as the bald eagle?”
A shock incorrect answer from the Eggheads led to the challengers ‘A Clearer Head’ pipping them to the post.
Sue Hampton, team captain and ambassador for Alopecia UK, said: “Watching Eggheads, I had an idea that awareness of alopecia could be raised, if I could just recruit five more women prepared to go on TV without a wig, hat or scarf.
“It took eight or nine months to pull a team together but we did it, embarking on our bald challenge on national television.
“To win was a huge shock and I cannot tell you the pressure that the team felt, knowing that the prize was £29,000.
“We’ve had a really long wait since the filming and haven’t been able to tell anyone, so it is great that the episode has now aired! The money has gone to a great cause and will be put to good use. We couldn’t have hoped for anything better!”
Marie has been bald since 1999 and initially focussed on getting treatments and hiding her condition.
With the help of Alopecia UK, she slowly grew in confidence, culminating in her appointment as lead of the Birmingham Support Group early last year.
The only thing holding her back was her wig and so she made a decision to ditch it, ‘coming out’ on her 40th birthday.
She is now proud to be bald and promoting awareness. She says “Now I feel good about it, but it has taken me a long time to get to a good place.”