A HOST of good causes have received an early Christmas present, thanks to a very popular and unusual festival. 

A presentation party to donate money raised from the Bridport Hat Festival was held last week at The Ropemakers.

Four good causes collected cheques on the night, with one more having already received its share – Bridport Mind Fest, held for the first time in October, was given a donation early to help with its costs.

The volunteer-run Bridport Hat Festival donates its profits to head-related charities, so, on their behalf, committee member Brian Atkinson handed over hefty cheques on the night to regular recipients. Brain Tumour Research and the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT), both received £1,000.

Performance group No Limits and Brainwave received £250 each, as had Bridport Mind Fest.

The party was also attended by sponsors, donors and volunteers of the festival.

Emma Cronin from Brain Tumour Research explained to the room how funds are channelled into seeking a cure.

Amy Carrington and Denise Greenwood from BIRT said: "The donation will pay for 20 sessions of invaluable hydrotherapy for brain-injured residents."

Simon Williams from Mind Fest elaborated on his mission and expressed a hope that the two festivals would continue to enjoy a good relationship in the future.

Before the guests tucked into a buffet, Mayor of Bridport, Cllr Anne Rickard.

Cllr Rickard, who was sporting a gold top hat for the occasion, thanked the committee for their work throughout the year and described Bridport Hat Festival as "the most inclusive and fun major event in the town calendar" and one which “puts a smile on everybody's face”.

An appeal was also made for new volunteers to both join the committee, with meetings beginning in January and to help on the big day, 'Haturday', which next year is planned for Saturday, September 1.

Those interested can visit bridporthatfest.org or call 01308 250350.