In 2008 Therese Hughes stayed in the Ritz, had afternoon tea at the House of Commons and was invited to Buckingham Palace where HRH Prince Charles awarded her an MBE as a recipient in the Queen’s Honours list for her services to the Health Services in Northern Ireland.
Those services included a compassionate practical solution to people suffering from hair loss – often due to the side effects of chemotherapy.
Sometimes it’s the little things that help when a person is seriously ill, and sometimes, in cases like the non-life-threatening condition alopecia, the service provided by Tresses Wig and Hairpiece Boutique can also be life-changing.
Therese comes from a large family of 14 children and began her hairdressing career as a young teenager when she learned her trade in Scissors hairdressers in Newry.
She opened her very own salon at the tender age of nineteen and 17 years later, when a client was in need of a wig, Therese went on a mission to find one in London.
With the help of an Orthodox Jew she did, and with that the seed was sown to fulfil a want deep in her soul.
In 1998 Therese opened Tresses, the first wig and hairpiece boutique in the country, and the business went from strength to strength. She opened another boutique in Belfast and Therese established a relationship with the NHS, cementing that collaboration when she and a psychologist Professor Davidson in Belvoir Park
Hospital set up the first dedicated room that provided wigs and counselling services to patients suffering from hair loss, which was rolled out to hospitals all around the UK and Ireland.
For this week’s podcast Therese tells Armagh I how she got where she is today and why she feels compelled to do what she does.
She tells us all about that memorable weekend when she was handed her MBE by HRH Prince Charles. A story that includes a fake Chanel handbag, a secret handshake and a very famous celebrity she met on the day…