Bideford Red Hatters' bold bid

RED Hatters in Bideford are keeping their fingers crossed that next year they could be providing the venue for their national convention. The Red Hat Rebels of Bideford have submitted their ideas for the annual gathering which could bring hundreds of wome

RED Hatters in Bideford are keeping their fingers crossed that next year they could be providing the venue for their national convention.

The Red Hat Rebels of Bideford have submitted their ideas for the annual gathering which could bring hundreds of women hatters to the town next autumn.

Valerie Steele, the Rebels' leader or Queen, explained that the Red Hatters is a worldwide organisation open to women of all ages.

"Our motto is 'fun, friendship and freedom.' It is women coming together, supporting each other and having fun. Inclusion makes such a diffence to us all, forging friendships makes life so much more fulfilling," she said.


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The ladies meet monthly for coffee in their homes or coffee shops to plan their activities, such as trips and visits to various events. Some bigger groups, particularly in the USA, go on cruises and holidays together. This was something the Rebels might also aspire to in the future, said Valerie.

In all they do, the women cut quite a dash dressed in their distinctive outfits of purple, with red hats.

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Currently the small Rebels group, only half-a-dozen strong, is concentrating its efforts of boosting membership and on promoting its bid to hold the 2010 national convention.

Originally there were four groups which put their names forward. Now we are down to two, Bideford and Edinburgh, said Valerie.

"We have circulated our proposals to all the different chapters in the UK and they will vote on which they like best. The result will be announced at this year's convention in Plymouth in October. Our idea is for a Mama Mia theme, including a tribute band.

This film showed the world how important women friendships are to us all, connecting women all over the world in united friendship. It will be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun."

The Red Hatters organisation sprang from a poem by Jenny Joseph celebrating women of a certain age.

It starts: "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple and a red hat that doesn't go and does not suit me. I shall spend my money on brandy, bingo and my grandchildren and say we have no money for butter.I shall sit down on a bench in the street and talk to anyone who cares to listen, about how things used to be and eat up free samples of food in shops and get to the front of the queue..."

The Bideford Rebels are looking to recruit 30 more members to their chapter. Anyone who would like to join them can contact Valerie on (01237) 422610 or e-mail:-valerie-steele@hotmail.co.uk

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