THE PICTURE at left shows England’s only professor of Romany studies. He has been growing his hair for seven months. Now it’s to come off – for a Gypsy charity.
At Stratford, pictured, at about 3pm tomorrow Thomas Acton will pick up his violin to scratch out a Romany anthem to the snip-snip of a Rom hairdresser’s scissors.
As the crimper, Sorish Djemaili, gives the academic a skinhead makeover, the hat will be passed around for the Roma Support Group’s Early Learning Challenge.
The emeritus professor at Greenwich University said that to qualify for an institutional grant, the East London charity needed to raise £180,000 by December. Gypsies are among Britain’s worst school achievers.
Oxford-educated Acton, 66, has campaigned for Gypsies, Irish and newage travellers since he taught Romanichal children on a disused airstrip in Hornchurch, Essex, in 1967 when he was a Trinity College student.
He told Loving Dalston: “East European Roma are the latest in a long list of Romanies who have settled in Britain since the end of the 15th century.
“They have been marginalised since Edward VI and Elizabeth I passed genocidal laws against them.”
David Altheer 050914
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* The haircut will take place on the walkway between Westfield Stratford City, Montifichet Road, Olympic Park E20 1EJ, and the pool in the Olympic Park E20 2ST, Sat 6 Sep 2014 at 3pm.
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