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Bury St Edmunds based Scotts Opticians to take part in Wear A Hat Day for Brain Tumour Research

Staff at an opticians in Bury St Edmunds are preparing to don silly hats and put their baking skills to the test all to raise money for a brain cancer charity.

Scotts Opticians, based in Abbeygate Street, will be supporting Wear A Hat Day on March 31 as part of Brain Tumour Research's flagship fundraiser.

As well as making cakes to sell instore, alongside the charity’s wristbands and pin badges, staff will be serving customers dressed in hats of all shapes, colours and sizes.

Staff at Scotts Opticians in Bury St Edmunds are to take part in Brain Tumour Research's Wear A Hat Day
Staff at Scotts Opticians in Bury St Edmunds are to take part in Brain Tumour Research's Wear A Hat Day

Store director Ali Blake, who has known optometrists discover pituitary tumours during routine eye tests, suggested supporting the fundraiser after seeing it advertised in an optical magazine.

She said: "We’re a working business so we’ll have patients booked in to be seen and others coming in for fittings and adjustments but it would be great to have a steady stream of visitors who are happy to part with a bit of money in exchange for some cake. We’ll make it a fun day despite the heartache at the centre of it all.”

Ali's friend Steve Pain died from a glioblastoma (GBM) in November 2020, leaving behind his wife, Rachel, and son, Joseph.

Steve, Rachel and Joseph Pain
Steve, Rachel and Joseph Pain

Steve, a BT manager from Carshalton, South London, was initially suspected of having Bell's palsy after developing a droopy face and slurred speech. It was only after he began suffering from debilitating headaches that his brain tumour was discovered.

He underwent multiple surgeries, as well as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, and survived four years from diagnosis, passing away days before his 53rd birthday.

“He fought a hard battle and managed four years before he passed away, so this is a cause very close to my heart," Ali added.

Store director Ali Blake lost a close friend to a glioblastoma (GBM)
Store director Ali Blake lost a close friend to a glioblastoma (GBM)

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We were saddened to learn about Steve’s passing. Sadly, with one in three of us knowing someone affected by a brain tumour, his story is all too familiar.

“Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. We’re determined to change this but it’s only by working together we will be able to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure.

“We’re really grateful to Ali and all the staff at Scotts Opticians for taking part in Wear A Hat Day and hope they have a really enjoyable event.”

The theme of this year’s Wear A Hat Day is to look super for science. Donations can be made on the JustGiving page, here.

Brain Tumour Research has announced a £2.5 million funding agreement to help find a cure for the deadliest of all childhood cancers. The grant is being awarded to The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), in Sutton, Surrey, where a team of scientists led by Professor Chris Jones will form the fourth Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence.