Top John Frieda stylist Darren and his wife Benna refused to give up on their daughter Amber though she’d been starved of oxygen in the womb. They tell their incredible story…

When it comes to high-end hairdressing, few names are more instantly recognisable than John Frieda. He hasn’t cut hair in almost 25 years, but 13 bottles of his famous Frizz-Ease serum are sold every minute, and the clients listed on his website are the glamour-defining faces of their generation. Ergo, if you want to be a top stylist, you could do little better than secure a job at John’s Mayfair salon. Darren Regan has worked there for 26 years and is one of the business’s most senior coiffeurs. His wife Benna works there, too, as an expert colourist. ‘It’s a place full of beautiful people – and, let’s be honest, it is also a bubble,’ says Darren.

Today, I am meeting Darren and Benna not at the luxury pampering oasis that is their workplace, but at their home in the Hertfordshire countryside. Their barn conversion is warm and welcoming but it is also instantly clear from myriad pieces of specialist equipment dotted around – including a standing aid and a specially adapted highchair – that you are entering a very different bubble.

In April 2012, Darren and Benna’s world spun on its axis with the birth of their daughter Amber. In a few hours, they went from a state of excited anticipation to one of high drama as a rare complication left their first-born child fighting for her life. Four days after Amber was delivered by an emergency caesarean, Darren and Benna were told there was no hope – she had been starved of oxygen in the womb, none of her organs were working and they needed to make the agonising decision to switch off her life-support machine. ‘We were told that she would most likely die within a few minutes,’ recalls Benna.

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