Sidmouth Wear A Hat gathering takes place online, and optician wins hat decoration prize

The winning hat decorated by opticians Bennett & Rogers. Picture: Bennett & Rogers

The winning hat decorated by opticians Bennett & Rogers. Picture: Bennett & Rogers - Credit: Archant

Nearly 200 smiling hat wearers shared their selfies online in a virtual ‘gathering’ for Sidmouth Wear A Hat Week.

The online turnout on Saturday, March 28 was described as ‘fantastic’ by Wear A Hat team member Charlie Gwillim, and raised £530 for Brain Tumour Research.

Charlie and fellow brain tumour patient Charlotte Reid are ‘the two Cs’ and the local faces of the fundraising campaign.

They and the rest of the Wear A Hat team have been overwhelmed by the support from the Sidmouth community, who did their best to make the week a success despite the coronavirus lockdown.

The Mad Hatters’ Afternoon Tea Party and Beetle Drive had to be cancelled, but many ticket holders did not ask for a refund.

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Clubs and societies had to stop meeting, but many still donated to Brain Tumour Research.

Shops and businesses managed to take part in the ‘decorate a hat’ competition by sending photos of their creations, which were judged online on Friday, March 27 by Melanie Tiley from Brain Tumour South West.

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The winner was Bennett & Rogers opticians, second prize went to Potbury’s and third to Annie’s.

After hearing who had won top prize, Charlie Gwillim remarked on how apt it was, since the optician at Bennett and Rogers first alerted her to a possible medical problem and sent her to RD&E for further tests.

Photos of the hats, and the selfies from the virtual gathering, can be seen on the Sidmouth Does Wear A Hat Week Facebook page.

Sarah French from the fundraising team said, “We really felt the love from Sidmouth.”

The team have said ‘a massive thank you’ to everyone who showed support, offered help, donated raffle prizes, sponsored events, and made financial contributions.

They said: “We don’t know how much has been raised in total yet, as there are

donations still to collect and merchandise collecting boxes in shops.”

The fundraising will also continue once the lockdown is lifted, with a book by local author Janet Dowling called Bold Girls In Hats going on sale in local shops, along with other items.

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