It’s #WearAHatDay 2023

3 min read
 by Hugh Adams

Its #WearAHatDay!

The UK’s premier brain tumour awareness event is now in its fourteenth year and over the years has raised more than £2 million – it’s always a great day with inspirational stories and great photos accompanying the stream of donations and money raised through fundraising activities.

See what’s been going on through our social media pages and join in using the hashtag #WearAHatDay.

If you aren’t already taking part, and if you do just one thing to support us this year, then please make it doing something to support Wear A Hat Day.

Post your own hat photo on your social media pages, email your MP a photo and ask them to join in – or easier than that tag them on Twitter and ask them to support #WearAHatDay for @braintumourrsch

… and all the time asking for donations of course.

You could tag your favourite celebrity to see who might join us as we bring Brain Tumour Research into the national spotlight!

George Freeman MP, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation is a long-standing advocate for improved brain tumour research funding and once again this year is supporting Wear A Hat Day. He said:

The vital work of Brain Tumour Research charities, patients and volunteers is helping researchers develop new diagnostics & treatments. 

“This is a cause close to my heart, after my childhood friend Charlie Williams died of an aggressive tumour in his late 40s.

“That’s why I secured £30m as Minister for Life Science and am now, as Minister for Research & Innovation, backing the #WearAHatDay Campaign.

 Let’s all wear our hats with pride and raise our hats to the heroes raising money for the research we need.”

 You can read more about George’s work on this issue here:

Keep an eye out for other MPs posting about Wear A Hat Day today hopefully one will be Sarah Owen MP for Luton and constituency MP for Amani Liaquat and her family. Sarah spoke movingly about meeting Amanis’ family during the recent Brain Tumour Research Funding debate. I am meeting with her this afternoon before heading to an event in Luton – home of the UK hatting industry. We continue to enjoy the support of the British Hat Guild and they always sprinkle some couture gold dust on Wear A Hat Day (keep an eye on the Instagram pages for Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones today).

In other another Westminster story Anum Qaisar, Member of Parliament for Airdrie and Shotts has lodged an Early Day Motion (EDM) to celebrate her constituent Nadia Majid’s fundraising for the Fundraising Group she set up (Remembering Rayhan) as a legacy for her son Rayhan who died aged 4. The EDM reads as follows:

That this House recognises Nadia Majid and her son Rayhan who passed away four months after his brain tumour diagnosis aged four years old; congratulates Nadia on completing 10,000 steps per day in February to increase awareness for Brain Tumour Research; commends her for raising over £10,000 to support those suffering from the devastating impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis; notes the vital work of Brain Tumour Research in helping to combat the disease; acknowledges Nadia’s longstanding commitment to campaigning in memory of Rayhan; and hopes that Rayhan’s legacy will go on to inspire others to join the fight against brain tumour disease.

There is more news from Scotland this week too as Emma Harper MSP has been granted a Debate in the Scottish Parliament, entitled Wear A Hat Day 2023 it is scheduled for Tuesday 18 April 2023.  You can find out more about this brain tumour debate here.

I’ve sometimes been asked if all Brain Tumour Research team members wear hats on Wear A Hat Day and we do and that isn’t just because we work for the charity it is because we want to raise awareness of an issue that is very personal to all of us.

We are always inspired by our Founder and Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith who, driven by the loss of her niece, Alison Phelan, to a brain stem glioma (DIPG) just before her eighth birthday, co-founded the charity “Ali’s Dream” after being shocked to discover the lack of awareness and chronic under-funding of research into brain tumours.

It isn’t just Sue with a personal connection to our cause though.

Ashley Bailey our Director of Finance and Operations brother has an acoustic neuroma

Dr Karen Noble our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation, lost her sister-in-law to glioblastoma in 2011.

Andrea Abbis oversees our Marketing, Digital Marketing, and PR and Communications teams. Andrea’s niece Leanne was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma tumour at the age of 23.

Our Director of Fundraising Russell Marriot also has a personal reason to join the fight to find a cure for brain tumours having lost a relative to the disease.

One thing I am often asked is whether there is a personal story behind my working for Brain Tumour Research – is there a personal connection that motivates my work? I used to say “No – that isn’t the case,” because strictly speaking it wasn’t, however, I stopped saying that very early into my time with the charity, many years ago, because there are many personal stories that motivate me and, as you have read, in our charity, I’m not alone in feeling that.

If you have been in touch with us for your Wear A Hat Day merchandise your needs are fulfilled by our team of office volunteers who all have personal reasons to support our work – for some, it is their diagnosis, for others, it is following a family member being diagnosed.

If our volunteers did not do what they do, we simply could not operate, and we are indebted to them.

In our office, my colleagues who have been picking up incoming calls during this hectic Brain Tumour Awareness Month all have personal reasons to support the charity because they will all have taken one particular phone call they will always remember. It won’t have been expected but it will have been an outpouring of despair and confusion and grief from someone who needed someone to talk to.

The PR team who tell your campaigning stories, like the ones in the Express in recent weeks all have stories that have haunted them, phone calls that have lasted for hours, that have left them in tears but stories that have inspired them too.

The Digital Marketing team responsible for all of the colourful Wear A Hat Day social media content read your Facebook and other social media posts and reply. They try and say what they can in just a few words to help, to motivate, to support and let you know ‘we are on your side’.

Our Community Fundraisers who will be out and about all over the country today share your triumphs but cannot fail to be moved by your stories and the reasons why you are motivated to fundraise for us

The magazines we write, the leaflets we produce all reflect what we have all heard.

Right across the charity for us this is personal, we are human, we cry, we despair, we care.

It is personal and it is a privilege and when we come together as we do on Wear A Hat Day the mood is one of determination, of persistence, tenacity and a vision to reach our individual and collective goals.

It is not about being the biggest, it is about being the best we can be.

If you think this culture would be something you’d like to be even more of a part of then do keep an eye on our vacancies page. Currently we are looking for new colleagues in our fundraising and supporter care administration teams

If you are friendly positive, love spending time on social media and are determined to help raise to help find a cure for brain tumours then we would also love to hear from you as we are recruiting a team of Digital Volunteers to help inspire and motivate our supporters in our Jog 26.2 Miles in May Challenge!

Complete the form below to register your interest and find out more on becoming part of our team!

Find out more and register

TV gardener Danny Clarke has launched our Rose for Hope to help raise vital funds for a cause close to his heart.

Danny, also known as the Black Gardener who shot to fame in 2015 as BBC’s Instant Gardener, joined gardening enthusiasts at the launch event at Burston Garden Centre in St Albans last Friday.

The repeat-flowering floribunda Rose for Hope has deep yellow flowers and is being sold in a pink pot.  A minimum £1 from the sale of each plant, which is being stocked at garden centres across the UK, will be donated to Brain Tumour Research.

Danny lost his sister Margot McLellan to a glioblastoma (GBM). He said: “I don’t want other families to have to go through that and know the key lies in research. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. This has to change.”

Burston’s support of the charity comes after the owners’ grandson, Shay Emerton (pictured right, with Danny) was diagnosed with a grade 2 glioma in 2021.

Shay’s mum, Dawn Emerton, said: “The Burston family is proud to be part of the launch of this very beautiful rose which we believe will bring much pleasure to our customers whilst also supporting Brain Tumour Research in its continued efforts to fund research and find a cure for all brain tumours.”

To see the full list of garden centres stocking the Rose for Hope, click here.

I mentioned Amani earlier and she famously met with the singer Tom Parker who spoke on her blog. That was in 2021 and now neither of these beautiful people are with us. Yesterday we took stock of Tom’s loss on the first anniversary of his passing.

With the easter holidays upon us and Parliament in recess there will be a short break for these campaigning updates. They will return on Friday 21st  April

Wishing you all a peaceful time until then and Happy #WearAHatDay


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