Hundreds wear hats to help find a cure

3 min read

On Friday 31st March, hundreds of people across the UK took part in Wear A Hat Day, helping us bring a momentous Brain Tumour Awareness Month to a close.

The month ended on a hattastic high with lots of amazing events held in communities, at workplaces and schools – as well as people sharing selfies on social media and making donations – to raise vital funds and awareness to help find a cure for brain tumours.

Here are just a handful of highlights from a spectacular Wear A Hat Day:

Some high-profile names lent their support this year. Amongst those tipping their cap to our cause was actress Vicki Michelle MBE, best known for playing Yvette Carte-Blanche in ‘Allo ‘Allo, now starring in EastEnders, who tweeted a fabulous photo wearing our signature pink top hat.

Vicki looking glam our pink top hat (via Twitter @vickimichelle)

From the world of music, Pete Waterman OBE looked dapper in a flat cap. Whilst actress Zoë Wanamaker asked people to “join the campaign to spread awareness”

Pete Waterman asked his followers to support Wear A Hat Day (via Twitter @PeteWatermanOBE)

The actress tweeted her support (via Twitter @ZoeWanamaker)

Long-time supporter Danny Clarke also got involved. Danny lost his sister Margot McLellan to a glioblastoma (GBM)

Danny wearing the top hat (via Twitter @theblkgardener)

There was also great support from politicians. Minister of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman MP shared his support of the fundraiser, writing on his website: “Finding a cure has long been a cause which I have supported – even more so since the passing of my childhood friend, Charlie, a few years ago.”


George Freeman tipped his cap to Wear A Hat Day (via Twitter @GeorgeFreemanMP)

Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, paid a visit to a NatWest branch in Milton Keynes, where colleagues were taking part. He tweeted how he was pleased to put on a hat and “support this brilliant cause”.

Iain Stewart MP and Natwest colleagues on Wear A Hat Day (via Twitter @iainastewart)

Meanwhile, Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham, attended our Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith MBE’s fundraising lunch. It was the sixth Wear A Hat Day lunch held by Sue and raised more than £1,150, bringing the total over the years to more than £4,600.

Sue said: “We had a lot of fun, especially with the addition of games like heads and tails and playing card bingo, which, along with ticket sales, the raffle and auction all contributed to a successful fundraiser.”

Left to right: Greg Smith MP, Sue Farrington Smith MBE, Head of PR and Communications Sue Castle-Smith, trustee Margaret Stockham Turner, Communications Officer Liz Fussey and Colin Hinton, Sue’s father

And, after a busy month of raising awareness, Derek Thomas MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT) popped his hat on. A champion of the brain tumour community, Derek has been at the forefront of campaigning this Brain Tumour Awareness Month, including driving the APPGBT inquiry which published its landmark report, leading a milestone Westminster debate on brain tumour research funding, and asking the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to make brain tumours a “critical priority” during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Brain tumour champion Derek Thomas MP (via Twitter @DerekThomasUK)

The team at our newly-announced Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) got stuck in too. They certainly looked super for science!  

Professor Chris Jones (third from left) and the team at The ICR (via Twitter @JonesLabICR)

Communities, clubs, families, workplaces and schools across the UK took part in a whole host of different ways too.

Pilates participants in Ashwell, Hertfordshire, sported hats during their classes, whilst customers in Crumps Butchers were welcomed by Brain Tumour Research bunting and staff in strange hats. 

Pilates-goers in their hats (top) and Crumps Butchers (bottom)

Staff at Waltham Abbey Opticians in Essex invited members of the public to join them and nearby businesses in celebrating Wear A Hat Day, including an open coffee morning. Manager Ashley Sondh said the fundraiser “struck a chord” with her team because children in the community have been diagnosed and, as opticians, staff can help with earlier detection of some brain tumours.

Fife milliner Julie Cavanagh held a fascinator-making workshop with members of St Columba’s Catholic Church ladies group. It was dedicated to her younger brother Professor Paul Young who died from a GBM in 2018.

As well as going to work wearing hats of all shapes, colours and sizes, staff at Highwoods Surgery in Colchester took part in a hat quiz and sold our pin badges to raise extra cash. It was in support of receptionist Sara Thomas, whose father died from a GBM in 2010. A DIY photobooth set up added to the fun and made for some great photos on the day!

Colleagues at Highwoods Surgery having fun

Also looking fabulous were ladies at The Wedding Shop in Colchester, who donned fancy fascinators and hats in support of their colleague, Rachael Wood, who was diagnosed with a grade 4 astrocytoma in March 2022.

A colourful array of hats at The Wedding Shop

Our thanks also go to Lock & Co. for its continued support of Wear A Hat Day. This year, Lock & Co. launched the Brain Tumour Research Panama and for each hat sold, £50 will be donated to help find a cure. Read more and purchase this limited-edition hat here.

Racing presenter Leonna Mayor, TV presenter and model Rosie Tapner, and singer Laura Wright modelling the Panama

Lock & Co. also worked with pupils and teachers of Blakesley Primary School, Northamptonshire, for Wear A Hat Day. Each pupil learned from members of the team at Lock’s about the history of hats and how they are made, and had the opportunity to design, make and trim their own hats. A selection of the fabulous creations were displayed, making for a fabulously colourful shop window.

Lock & Co’s window display and the team in their hats

And there were plenty more hattastic events taking place – to see more photos and activity from the day, search #WearAHatDay on Twitter.

Plus, there’s still time to donate to support Wear A Hat Day – just click here.

Thank you to everyone who got involved – wherever you are and whatever you did. We really appreciate your support in helping us get closer to a cure for all types of brain tumours.

Back to Research & Campaigning News