About Crazy Hats

When the idea of raising just a small amount of money for Kettering General Hospital, through people, mostly children, donning crazy hats for a day back in 2002, proved to be so successful and ‘very different’, the thought of ever passing a total of over £1 million seemed incredible and unachievable. Now, thirteen years on and that total has passed £2 million! The success of the charity stems from a comment made by the then editor of the Evening Telegraph, David Penman, who indicated that something unique had started that was so needed in the county and was going to make a significant difference. He went on to say that the public wanted to support this initiative because, at last, the word ‘cancer’ was being voiced; people were actually talking openly about the disease; the stigma of the word ‘cancer’ was now beginning to be lessened.

The first £20,000 raised was designated to support funding for the new Breast Care Unit in the Treatment Centre at KGH which was due to be opened in 2004.

The Centre actually opened in 2007 and Crazy Hats had, by then, increased the donation to £100,000 with many more projects having been funded both at Kettering, at Northampton and at Leicester Royal Infirmary where many ladies from the north of the county were having breast reconstruction procedures.

The charity started with just a group of friends, working from home, organising various fundraising events and travelling the county talking about their breast cancer experiences to a multitude of different groups.

In 2005 Crazy Hats received charity status and in 2006 a move was made from Glennis’ one-bedroomed flat to rented premises in Wellingborough – the charity was growing!

Trustees were elected along with a large, active committee; sponsors were found and secured; honorary members were invited to join and a membership scheme was created; more volunteers also came forward to make it the thriving charity it is today. (See Who’s Who).

The charity was thrilled to have Dr. Roy Matthew (Consultant Oncologist at both Kettering and Northampton General Hospitals) as its President and Breast Reconstruction Consultant, Mr Sanjay Varma (Leicester Royal Infirmary), as Vice-President. Crazy Hats sincerely thanks its main sponsor, Avon Cosmetics, who have supported the charity for the past seven years, donating generous funds to each of the charity’s walks and offering funds to support other initiatives such as purchasing a new van, helping to revamp the charity’s office and support in setting up and maintaining the charity’s therapy service. The charity boasts support from numerous other companies and organisations – please refer to our sponsorship page for more details.

Today the charity prides itself on the fact that it is very much a ‘people-focussed’ charity. Not only does the charity work very closely with the medical professionals to discuss hospital projects and fund these; it has now set up a weekly Coffee and Chat morning (Thursdays) where committee members, who have all experienced breast cancer in one form or another, and often health officials, are on hand to talk to those currently going through their journeys. These sessions are proving to be very popular, especially as family members, friends and carers are also supported. In addition to the ‘chat’ side of support Crazy Hats now has its own qualified therapist on board and therapy sessions are also provided on a weekly basis in a building adjacent to the office. In time the charity hopes to find bigger and better facilities and would, therefore, be very keen to hear from companies / individuals who may be able to help them do this as there is certainly a need for more space and privacy. In time, other support networks are being discussed in the fields of hair and beauty guidance and art therapies. Watch this space!

Crazy Hats receives no financial grants. All monies raised is by members of the charity organising events throughout the year and by kind and generous individuals and groups of people in the community organising fundraising events of their own – all of which can be somewhat crazy in nature! Other funds come from donations and the charity sincerely thanks everyone who has contributed in this way.

The potential for Crazy Hats and the work it does in the county is huge. The charity has vision and it has energy. Every penny raised or donated is highly valued knowing that the charity is making a difference to breast cancer care services in Northamptonshire. Why not call in at the office and see for yourselves? You can be assured of a very warm welcome. Breast cancer is, undoubtedly, a very serious subject and the charity is very aware of this but, somehow, a visit to the office or to any of the charity’s events can and will, lift your spirits.