Convention joy for Bideford Red Hatters

RED Hatters from around the UK will be gathering in Bideford next year - and a host of Abba dressalikes, too! The Red Hat Rebels of Bideford are celebrating the announcement that the town is to be the venue for the annual Red Hatters convention. The loca

RED Hatters from around the UK will be gathering in Bideford next year - and a host of Abba dressalikes, too!

The Red Hat Rebels of Bideford are celebrating the announcement that the town is to be the venue for the annual Red Hatters' convention.

The local group has won the nationwide vote after submitting their ideas for the annual gathering, which is estimated to bring 150-200 women Hatters to the town on October 8 and 9 next year.

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


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"Our motto is 'fun, friendship and freedom,' she said."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."

The ladies meet monthly for coffee in their homes or coffee shops to plan their social activities, such as trips and visits to various events.

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Some bigger groups 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.

Currently the small Rebels' group, only half-a-dozen strong, is concentrating its efforts on boosting membership and on arrangements for the 2010 convention.

They have already booked a local hotel to host the visiting ladies.

Originally four groups put their names forward to host the event. This was narrowed down to two - Bideford and Edinburgh, said Valerie.

Then, after circulating their proposals to all the Hatters' chapters in the UK for a national vote, came news that Bideford has won.

An official announcement will come at this year's convention in Plymouth on October 8 and 9.

The Rebels' 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," said Valerie.

The Hatters will be holding a gala night, when many will be in Abba style, 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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