President: Dr. Roy Matthew (Consultant Oncologist)
I was invited to become the charity’s President several years ago when I attended a presentation of money in the Oncology department at Northampton General Hospital. I knew quite a lot about Crazy Hats and knew they had the potential and vision to support the work we do as medical professionals. It is a privileged position and years on I know, first-hand, what a difference the team make to people’s lives and well-being as patients go through their breast cancer journeys. The team work tremendously hard to raise funds for our hospitals and should be congratulated on their amazing success.
Founder / Executive Fundraiser / Trustee / Publicity: Glennis Hooper
“From little acorns, great oaks grow!” From one crazy idea whilst trying on hats in Debenhams in Northampton a fantastic charity has evolved.
My mum once said if we ever got to a £1 million it would be a good idea to stop, thinking we would never raise that amount. In May 2015 we celebrated having raised over £2 million!! It is humbling to be spearheading such a unique team of people who work tirelessly to raise funds. Yes, we have a lot of fun, but we also work very hard. As an ex-head teacher, where I expected high standards at all times, I expect the same in running our charity – expecting standards in our breast care units to be high too. In order for this to happen they need our help. We have much vision and I know we have the potential to help and support so many more aspects of breast cancer care here in Northamptonshire. The Crazy Hats story is unique and very special!
Chair / Trustee: Heather Smith
I was drawn to join Crazy Hats from its inception having known Glennis for many years through playing competitive tennis and being in the teaching profession. Now, as a fully committed member of a dedicated group of volunteers, I feel proud to help in whatever way I can. As Chair and as a Trustee of the Charity it has become an integral part of my life; one that I really enjoy. It is incredible to think how much the charity has progressed over the years and to realise the potential it has to further enhance breast cancer care in Northamptonshire.
Administrator / Treasurer / Trustee: Marilyn Clapham
Years ago, long before Crazy Hats was ‘born’, I worked with Glennis at school. We became firm friends and I hope I was there for her when she went through her treatment for breast cancer back in 2001. Never did we realise what a moment it was when I was with Glennis in Debenhams trying on hats because she did not like her wig. Now here we are in 2014 on and I am now working for the charity as Treasurer, Administrator and I am a Trustee. It is a privileged position and I love all aspects of the roles. It is so rewarding to know that what we are doing is making a significant difference to breast cancer care here in Northamptonshire. I know, for in 2013 / 2014 Glennis and the team supported me through my breast cancer journey! Only then did I realise how I needed the support of all those around me and what a difference Crazy Hats made on my outlook on life.
Administrator / Trustee: Linda Savage
I first met Glennis in 2007 at a WI talk she gave. Glennis inspired me to organise a fundraising event for Crazy Hats and I have gone on to organise many since, involving my enthusiastic family and friends as helpers. In 2009 after bravely doing a tandem sky dive for the charity (I have done another since and my daughter has also taken the plunge) I was asked to join the ever-growing committee. In 2011 I progressed to becoming a Trustee and in 2013 I was asked if I would take on part-time work in addition to my voluntary work. The charity’s Annual Sponsored Walk is the highlight of the year. Seeing the sea of pink t-shirts and knowing everyone is walking for the same reason can be very emotional because I have family members and friends who are breast cancer sufferers. The main attraction of Crazy Hats is that it is local; the money we donate to the hospitals is local and we are helping local people.
Trustee / Communications: Jo Malone / Phil Malone
I finished my treatment for breast cancer in 2004. Having read about this crazy charity I knew I wanted to support it so chose to run a half marathon in Norway – at midnight! My job is travelling the world filming agricultural videos and training others to produce them so, using my skills, I film the Crazy Hats Walk each year and help out at events when I can. Having spent time at The Haven in London whilst undergoing treatment I know exactly what support is needed here in Northamptonshire – Northamptonshire needs its own ‘haven’. You may have seen my husband Phil (ex-BBC presenter) acting as Master of Ceremonies at many of the charity’s events, especially at the yearly Walks. Phil is keen to promote the county’s craziest charity in any way he can.
Trustee: Janet Page
I first became aware of Crazy Hats when I went along to their ‘Celebration of Life’ concert featuring school children singing with the Corby Male Voice Choir; it was so uplifting. At the time I had just lost two friends to breast cancer within 5 months; my sister was going through treatment and shortly afterwards my daughter was diagnosed. The concert had such an emotional effect on me that I immediately wanted to volunteer my services; I am now a Trustee. The support I had from the charity helped me through very difficult times, especially when my dear husband died of pancreatic cancer. I have made many good friends and I feel very proud to be part of such a dedicated team. The amount of money raised is proof of such dedication and also the support given by the community. Glennis, now a very dear friend, is an inspiration to everyone – when you are low she knows how to pick you up.
Trustee: Angelina Wood
I first met Glennis in 2003 when she came into my shop to have some photocopying done. Having family and friends suffering from breast cancer I was intrigued by the work Glennis was doing so I decided to get involved and joined the committee. Whilst pregnant, my friend and I took part in the second Walk and I have helped out in many capacities at all the others, thoroughly enjoying everything about them. I also help out where I can with any graphic work that needs doing. I was honoured to be asked to be a Trustee as I love the fact that Crazy Hats is run by local people to raise money to help local patients and our local hospitals.
Trustee / Volunteer / Therapist: Elaine Henson
My journey with Crazy Hats first began in 2009 when I became a member. As a qualified Reflexologist I felt passionate about finding a local charity that would benefit from the complementary therapies I offer and lucky for me that charity was Crazy Hats. I attended their weekly coffee and chat mornings on a voluntary basis to begin with giving taster sessions of different treatments. In January the Trustees decided to adopt me officially and invited me to set up a regular service for breast cancer patients and their carers. I have learned so much from the patients who attend; their journeys are incredible so I am so pleased to be able to give them quality time and support. I am now a proud Trustee and very much look forward to what the future holds for the charity – we certainly have a wonderful team!
Volunteer / Committee Members
Shirley Butlin: Volunteer / Committee Member
Bill Adlam – Volunteer Graphics Designer
After a long career in the design and printing industry it was in March 2007 that I started working for David Billings at DB Print and Design, literally next door to the Crazy Hats office, so imagine my surprise when Glennis, one of David’s valued customers, walked through the door! Glennis and I had been next door neighbours many years ago! When I finally retired two years ago Glennis asked me if I would like to carry on helping out with their design and art work. Of course I accepted and I must say I am jolly glad I did as this brilliant and inspiring charity is a joy to work for. There is always a lovely atmosphere, the people are great and they always give me a good lunch!
Pat Thomas / Volunteer / Committee Member
I first became aware of Crazy Hats a number of years ago through my husband who was a member of RAOB (BUFFS) in Wellingborough and they were fundraising for them. I also took part in the ‘Jail and Bail’ event years ago, organised by a friend who was recovering from breast cancer …. I was arrested at work for wearing a crazy hat and sponsorship was my bail money!! It wasn’t until 2013 when I, myself, was sitting in the breast care unit at KGH, waiting to be called when I noticed a large cheque that was on display which showed a considerable amount of money being presented to KGH by Crazy Hats. Only then, being diagnosed with breast cancer, did it really bring it home to me how the charity has and does support our local hospitals and, more importantly, give support during and after treatment to patients. My friend took me down to one of their coffee and chat sessions where I was made to feel welcome, I enjoyed the complementary therapies and I met some wonderful and inspirational people. Later, when I returned to work, it was then that I found Crazy Hats’ support the greatest help. I attended coffee and chat sessions in my lunch break and was able to talk about how I was trying to cope with getting back to ‘normal’. Knowing I was not alone, and other people understood how I was feeling was an immense help. Therefore, I was honoured when I was asked to join the committee and I am now very proud to be a member of the Crazy Hats family.
Sarah Barnes / Volunteer / Committee Member
I have been a local Weightwatchers Leader for many years. When looking for a local charity to support we chose Crazy Hats due to meeting up with Glennis. I was so inspired by her we took part in the annual walks and twice I have thrown myself out of a perfectly good aeroplane to support the cause! Then in 2013, following my first mammogram, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Crazy Hats was one of my first ports of call – I needed to talk to people who REALLY knew and understood what I was going through. Crazy Hats is such a special group of people and offers support in so many ways. I am proud to be a committee member of this wonderful charity.
Karen Smith / Therapist / Volunteer
My first association with Crazy Hats was through my partner and Tingdene Homes in the early years of the charity. The Chairman at that time took a great interest in the fundraising Glennis was doing and Tingdene sponsored the very first team fundraising parachute jump for the charity back in 2004. I could have been part of that but chickened out – although I did finally go on to do it several years later! In that year certain circumstances (mainly the death of my father from cancer) led me to retrain and take a new direction in my life and I became an holistic therapist, opening my new business in 2006. Crazy Hat became my chosen charity to support. Not only did I want to carry on an association with a local charity, but I also felt the need to help other cancer sufferers. Initially, my support was through fundraising but I went on to offer therapy time and, therefore, now take great pleasure in working with Elaine Henson providing complementary therapies at the coffee and chat mornings on a Thursday at the Crazy Hats office. Between us we are able to offer a comprehensive range of both holistic and beauty treatments. Not only do I enjoy providing treatments but also coming along to the coffee and chat mornings when I am not working in order to get to know the ladies and socialise. I love to be port of the events that the charity puts on throughout the year too! Despite the serious side of breast cancer we endeavour to have fun as well!!
Leanne Byrne / Volunteer / Committee Member
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2015. Before I began chemotherapy I went along to the Crazy Hats office to their coffee and chat morning. I knew a little bit about the charity and wanted to speak to other ladies who had been on the same ‘journey’ I was just beginning. From the moment I stepped into the office I was instantly made to feel welcome and Glennis spent some time talking with me and listening to me about my diagnosis and future treatment. All the ladies were friendly and caring and happy to share their stories and give advice and guidance. I soon became part of the Crazy Hats ‘family’ and attended as many events as I could, along with the coffee and chat mornings, when I felt well enough during chemotherapy. Some of the ladies kept in touch with me during my ‘ill’ weeks with a supportive call. As time went on I quickly found that I was offering support to other ladies who had just been diagnosed and were keen to talk and, sometimes, to be able make more informed decisions about their treatment. I was honoured and delighted to be asked to become a committee member towards the end of 2015. Crazy Hats has been, and will continue to be. a huge help and support to me and it would be brilliant if I could offer the same to someone else. I was young to be diagnosed with breast cancer and it is scary but, there is light at the end of the tunnel and Crazy Hats is a shining example of this!
Volunteer / Committee Member: Anne Billings
I have been fortunate not to have had breast cancer, but my sister and her daughter had it and my niece’s two daughters both had double mastectomies before they were twenty one as a preventative measure against the disease. My first reaction, when learning my sister had breast cancer, was relief, first and foremost, that it wasn’t me – followed by feeling guilty for thinking this. So, by becoming a member and serving on the committee of Crazy Hats, I felt I could do something positive in helping to fight this disease – for my family and anyone else who has suffered. It is a wonderful charity in that all money raised through its fundraising is ploughed back into supporting local hospitals with equipment; building such things as coffee shops at both KGH and NGH and funding many more projects to enhance their services. Our committee is a dedicated group of people who feel passionate about what we do to help raise funds – in fact we are all possibly a little crazy (some more than others!) but this helps in all the crazy things we find ourselves doing. But, it is all for a VERY GOOD CAUSE so we will carry on doing what needs to be done. I very much enjoying helping out at the Crazy hats Café in the oncology centre at Northampton General Hospital.
Volunteer / Committee Member: Sandra Angus
I have been diagnosed with breast cancer twice; the first time in 1998 and again in 2004. When I had finished my treatment I felt it was pay-back time to the local community; to Kettering General Hospital and to Northampton General Hospital where I had received first-class care, nursing and medical attention. This is why I decided to join the devoted team of Crazy Hats and I have been a volunteer since 2010. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute and if I can help any breast cancer patient on their journey by lending a sympathetic and listening ear to reassure them – this, to me, is giving something back. What I say to everyone is that with the help and encouragement of Crazy Hats there is a life out there that needs to be lived. Crazy Hats has certainly helped me.
Volunteer / Committee Member / Janet Felts
I had breast cancer in 2004 and since then I have kept very well and enjoy life by keeping busy and, hopefully, helping other people enjoy life. I hope my past experiences help the charity in some way.
Volunteer / Committee Member: Jeanette Hancock
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 14th 2008. You never forget the day they say “CANCER” to you! Although I was scared I must have taken it well as the nurse present with me said, ‘I can’t believe how you just sat there and took it all in’. My reply was, ‘Well, it’s there now so it’s got to be dealt with’. It all began when I found a lump in my right breast. After diagnosis I had a lumpectomy and several lymph gland removed, followed by four weeks of radiotherapy. I feel that I was one of the lucky ones. I cannot fault the treatment and care I had, all the staff at KGH were all so lovely. While I was going through all of this my daughter, Clare, was pregnant and, having heard about Crazy Hats and their great work, she decided to hold a competition with her work colleagues to guess the weight of her baby and later, after the birth of Connor, she took all the money she raised to Glennis and the gang and was then we became involved in the charity by taking part in the annual walk and helping in a small way with the fundraising. Crazy Hats is very important to us.
Volunteer / Committee Member: Babs Cox
Volunteer / Committee Member: Anne Lissack
About 5/6 years ago a friend asked me if I would like to go along to Crazy Hats and help them with the wrapping of prizes as they were particularly busy. This chance introduction to the charity led me on a wonderful journey of meeting so many, many different and lovely people. How bizarre it was that in 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer! I had a couple of operations, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy which resulted in me losing my hair. But, in all that time, I had so much love and support from everyone at Crazy Hats. Their Coffee and Chat mornings had started, which are proving to be so successful, and I found them so satisfying. I now feel I am able to give something back and now enjoy helping ladies currently going through the disease; it is so rewarding to know that we are able to put their minds at rest over certain issues – we know what they are going through! I also help out at carnivals, collection days, dances and offer help wherever I can. When someone says ‘thank you’ I feel as if I have won the lottery – it is a wonderful feeling to be able to help and support breast cancer care here in the county.
Volunteer / Committee Member: Jean Botting
My mother was one of nine children – 7 girls and 2 boys. Five of the girls had breast cancer but in those days no-one talked about such things, so when I told my doctor of my family’s history I was classed as high risk. I went for routine mammograms for a number of years then on my grandaughter’s 18th birthday in August 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was amazed because I could not feel anything. My husband was with me and was a wonderful support but he did not know anything about it so I needed someone who knew what was what. I knew Marilyn and had met Glennis so when I told Marilyn she invited me to go round and talk to Glennis, which I did. I felt so much better and ready to face the world. Fortunately I only had to have radiotherapy. After my treatment I joined Crazy Hats and cannot thank them enough for the help they gave me.
Volunteer / ‘Errand Boy’: ‘Pop’ (Derek) Emerton
I first became involved with Crazy Hats back in 2006. I remember it well. I read in the paper that their new premises had just been burgled with £1.00 being taken from a charity box they had. It saddened me and because I had such close connections with breast cancer, having lost my mother-in-law, my wife, my daughter and my sister to the disease, I wanted to go and meet the crazy ladies and offer £1.00 to them. I have not looked back since. For years I had always supported a national cancer charity but now wanted to support a charity nearer to home – a charity that is local and specifically breast cancer. Apparently, I am affectionately known as their ‘errand boy’ because I enjoy running about for them taking deliveries, picking up boxes and helping out whenever I can, especially at carnivals and in the shopping centres. Crazy Hats supports me and has made a huge difference to my life. They are a great group of people!
Gill Riddle – Committee Member
I first became aware of Crazy hats some years ago when I started doing the annual walk with my local exercise class. When I heard about the coffee and chat mornings I decided to go along as I had lost family members to breast cancer. It is always an enjoyable morning; everyone is made to feel very welcome and whatever anyone’s circumstances, we all leave feeling thoroughly uplifted. Ladies who are undergoing treatment and feel really down when they come in, leave feeling much better having benefitted from chatting with other ladies who know what they are going through, and having a laugh along the way. After meeting and making many new friends I became a member and enjoy going out on days with all the ladies – and a few men sometimes! When Glennis invited me to join the committee I felt really pleased and proud to be joining such an inspirational team of people. I always look forward to doing ‘my bit’ to help with fundraising and other wonderful work that is continually being done.
Volunteer / Committee Member: Sandy Lewis
I was a District Nursing Sister specialising in palliative care so was horrified when I developed breast cancer soon after retirement. I knew of Crazy Hats through friends and Glennis had taught my son, so after successful treatment I offered my services. It is good to know you are helping ‘the system’ but I have also made many new friends in my ‘adopted family’. We work hard; we play hard and we have a lot of laughs. More importantly, we are all there for each other and indeed for anyone who needs a listening ear and support as well as ensuring our breast care units have the best equipment and facilities.
Volunteer / Committee Member: Carol Benfield
Years ago I participated in two of the charity’s Walks and then offered to help where possible. I was taken on and joined the team. The enthusiasm is fantastic right from the top to us ‘girls’ who do whatever needs doing. It is very humbling to meet people and talk to many who have overcome breast cancer and to the ones who are newly diagnosed and about to start their journey. I feel that in being able to give someone a small amount of your time and to give that person confidence makes it all worthwhile. We are always learning; we are always laughing and we love what we do!
Volunteer / Committee Member: Sarla Patel
I am fairly new to Crazy Hats. I had been following the story of Crazy Hats, with interest, for years as Glennis used to teach my son. As soon as I met everyone at the office I was hooked and now I really enjoy helping out as a volunteer whenever work permits. I have been made to feel so welcome and I have grown to love the team as my family. When I wear the pink t-shirt I feel very proud knowing we are helping people and raising funds to buy equipment for our local hospitals.
Volunteer / Committee Member: Pat Hyde
I became involved with Crazy Hats in 2007 having been diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then I have recovered from secondary breast cancer and the support I personally received from members of the charity was so good. Getting involved I now love working alongside like-minded people and going out and about at events to promote the charity. I hope that when I talk to people at our coffee and chat mornings I can help alleviate some of their fears and worries. Being with Crazy Hats has given me confidence to organise fundraising events of my own – I love it!
Volunteer / Committee Member: Marion Neale
I did the Crazy Hats Walk for the first time, a few years ago, for my sister-in-law, then later my friend, Pat. Pat and I went along to an AGM as we both wanted to help and join. I love it! I love meeting new and old friends; we all have a lot of fun and I love the pink we wear. Everywhere I go I talk about Crazy Hats and my netball team wear the charity’s pink shirt to play matches. I hope Crazy Hats will go on for many years to come helping breast cancer patients and their carers.