FIRST impressions count, but do not be too quick to judge.

That was the lesson Maxine Hart, who is operations director at Wote Street People, gave Brighton Hill Community School pupils.

Maxine, who has worked at the recruitment agency for 12 years, arrived at the school with her usual hairdo, but left sporting a Mohican.

She was there as part of a Skillstree event organised by education charity Basingstoke Consortium.

As the organisation is the agency’s chosen charity of the year, Maxine took the opportunity to raise extra cash by having her hair restyled.

This was carried out in front of pupils by Lucie Basham, who is studying for a diploma in hairdressing at BCoT.

Originally up for a head shave, Maxine let the Year Eight pupils choose what her new hair style would be.

Clearly game to go for the Mohican, Maxine quipped: “Everyone has said it suits me.

“I’ve had lots of people saying how brave it was. Jumping out of a plane is brave, or having to have your head shaved due to treatment is brave.

“This wasn’t brave, it was a conscious decision to raise as much money as possible for Basingstoke Consortium.

“Another reason was to show youngsters how people perceive things from first impressions and images, and why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”

However, Maxine added: “Sometimes you have to conform to achieve what you want.”

Maxine’s Mohican raised £497 which has risen to £522 with gift aid, going towards the £2,500 target Wote Street People have set as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations.

She got a extra bonus on the day as she was mentioned on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2.

“It was a good way to maximise publicity for Basingstoke Consortium,” explained Maxine.

Basingstoke Consortium chief executive Sue Riley, said she was proud that Wote Street People had picked the organisation as its charity of the year.

She said: “As a charity we help young people develop the skills they need for the world of work.

“Maxine’s personal hair challenge sends a strong message to the young people we work with, highlighting that first impressions count in business, but do not be too quick to judge.

“Money raised by Wote Street this year will be used by Basingstoke Consortium to run practical employability workshops for local young people.”