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Bridport milliner's hat mission
A BRIDPORT milliner has more than one reason to look forward to the forthcoming celebration of hats.
Fiona Neylan will be showing her creations at the Bridport Hat Festival on September 6 and 7 but also hopes that the event will raise awareness of brain tumours.
The festival, backed by the Bridport News, supports Brain Tumour Research and the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust.
Fiona’s friend, Diane Eckett from Bridport, died in August 2009 aged 46 after initially suffering with melanoma and then developing a secondary brain tumour.
She left husband Paul and their three children aged 11, 15 and 17 years at the time.
Up to 40 per cent of all cancers eventually spread to the brain, with melanoma being one of the most likely to metastasise.
Fiona and Diane first became friends when their respective children were at St Mary’s Primary School in Bridport.
Fiona remembers her daughter’s fairies and elves-themed birthday party about ten years ago as around the time that she first got to know Diane, when her son attended the party in an elf costume.
Fiona said: “When Diane passed away because there was no cure for her condition, it hit me hard, as a mother myself, that her children would now have to grow up without their mummy.
“It is shocking to learn that more than 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour in this country every year and the incidences are rising.
It is simply wrong that less than one per cent of the national cancer research is given to brain tumour research.
“So I am delighted that Bridport Hat Festival is supporting Brain Tumour Research again this year.
“Back in March, I participated in Brain Tumour Research’s Wear A Hat Day campaign and sold hat badges to raise funds for the cause. I hope that people who attend Bridport Hat Festival will be similarly inspired to donate.”
Hugh Adams, campaign manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are indebted to Bridport Hat Festival for naming us as one of its charity partners for the second year running and hope that the event continues to be a great success.
“We are really looking to being there ourselves.”
Meanwhile the quest is still on for unwanted hats to be donated – no questions asked – to the Hat Amnesty.
Donations left at festival founder Roger Snook’s hat-filled emporium in West Street will be on offer at the hat auction at the Bridport and West Dorset Club in South Street tomorrow, August 23, at 7.30pm.
On Tuesday, August 27, at 8pm at the Ropemakers in West Street there will be a hat-themed quiz.
Full details of the festival are on bridporthatfest.org.