A qualified mental health nurse has cut his hair off to raise awareness of an incurable degenerative disease.

Frank Brennan, a former dementia nurse at Whipps Cross hospital, has been sporting the same hair-style for 30 years, but this all changed today when his 16 in' locks were chopped off in aid of Alzheimer's Society.

The haircut took place inside The Mall in Walthamstow Shopping Centre and was watched by dozens of surprised shoppers.

Mr Brennan, Irish-born and living in Camden, has been working with Alzheimer patients for 30 years but recently lost his job at the Leytonstone hospital in March as a result of 'restructuring' within various departments.

The fundraising effort will coincide with national dementia week, which runs today.

The 53 year-old got inspired to make the change after his 83 year-old Aunt Gracie, who suffers with the disease, gave him the 'impetus' to style a new look.

"She commented on my hair recently and it made me laugh as you find people with dementia or Alzheimer’s loose the ability to sensor themselves and frankly, be honest.

"More importantly though, this is about making people aware that they shouldn't be ashamed of the disease and telling people there are ways to live with it," said Mr Brennan.

Mr Brennan has so far raised £600, but has set himself a target of £2,500.