Tributes have been paid to an “inspirational” woman who set up a wig charity for chemotherapy patients before succumbing to cancer herself.
Agnes Lennox, 54, from Cramond, died after a long battle against breast cancer.
The former administrative worker set up the city’s Wig Bank to help cancer patients who could not afford to buy a hairpiece.
Donated wigs were washed and offered for sale at less than £20 – or for hire at just £5 – with a donation from each made to the Maggie’s Centre at the Western General Hospital.
Ms Lennox, originally from Forgandenny in Perthshire, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 and set up the charity two years later, having had problems obtaining a wig from the NHS.
She ran the operation at first from a Stockbridge food shop and more recently from her Cramond home.
In 2006, celebrity stylist Willie Hendry from West Lothian, who counts actresses Liv Tyler and Keira Knightley amongst his star clients, donated his collection of professionally styled wigs.
He said: “It’s absolutely heart-wrenching to learn that Agnes has gone.
“She was an absolute inspiration, dealing with an illness and looking after everyone else at the same time. I got in touch with Agnes when my mother had lung cancer and was treated in Edinburgh and went to the Maggie’s Centre.
“People came from all over to go to the Wig Bank. Agnes was just a real character and she used to wear the wildest wigs herself.”
The Wig Bank proved a runaway success, becoming a network across the UK after six new branches were set up by volunteers who approached Ms Lennox about her idea.
She had continued to run the charity until just weeks before her death last weekend.
Her sister Elizabeth, who revealed family and friends had been campaigning for Ms Lennox to be made an OBE, said: “We’re hoping it’s going to be a legacy forever. Agnes started the charity off and we want it to carry on.
“Agnes was just a fantastic woman. She was very giving and everybody said what a happy, smiling and cheerful person she was considering what she was going through with her breast cancer.
“People would always want exactly the same hair they had before and Agnes would say why don’t you try something different?”
Andrew Anderson, centre head at Maggie’s Edinburgh, said: “The team is deeply saddened to hear that Agnes has passed away.
“Agnes was a creative and generous individual, which led to her setting up the Wig Bank to support others dealing with hair loss.
“Agnes’ generous spirit will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with her family and friends during this time.”
A funeral service was due to be held at Forgandenny Church this morning.