What makes a Red hat Lady? by Chris Stow

I don’t want people to look at me and say: "What a sweet old lady."
I want them to say: "Whatever is she up to now?"

What makes a Red hat LadyIn the early eighties I knew a remarkable lady named Jessie. A Channel Islander, having lived through two world wars and German occupation, Jessie lived on the UK mainland when we met. Approaching her eightieth birthday her family asked her to choose something special to celebrate. Jessie immediately replied, "Flying lessons." "Absolutely not! Too dangerous." Jessie responded, "Alright, I’ll go parachuting."


Today, it is not unusual for someone to "buddy jump" late in life. In the eighties it was so unusual that BBC National News covered the story.


If the Red Hat Society had existed when Jessie was alive, she would have been a member. Her philosophy was "I don’t want people to look at me and say what a sweet old lady. I want them to say whatever is she up to now?"


Membership is world-wide for ladies only. Our philosophy is to find fun in everything and never admit to growing older. We can be recognised by our regalia of red hats and purple clothes, mentioned in the Jenny Jones poem "Warning". For ladies who have a problem with wearing purple, worry not. The code states "Red on the head and purple on the shoulder." So a white blouse with purple scarf is quite acceptable. Originally for ladies of fifty and over, we now welcome all ages. Our younger members wear pink hats until their big day.


Groups are known as Chapters. Activities depend on the interests of Chapter members. Anything from meeting for lunch, crafts, interesting visits, concerts, any excuse for party etc...


Every March the UK hosts a fun weekend for Queens and Vice Queens. This year Warner’s Littlecote House Hotel offered great food, activities and cabaret. Every October a convention weekend is held for all members, this year in Chichester.


Luxembourg was the venue for the European Weekend 10-13th June. Hatters from all over Europe meet at different locations each year.


Expats/English speakers from our region are invited to join. There are currently two of us. Myself in Montaren and another in Carpentras. We tend to meet on neutral ground somewhere in- between.


Do not assume that everything will take place in or around Uzès. We will travel around for our meetings and activities depending on the location of our members.


I attended a charity lunch/fashion show for Cancer Support France at the end of May. Both of us attended a lunch meeting giving financial advice for expats in June.


I can’t promise a parachute jump but we might save up for a hot air balloon experience.


Contact me: Chris Stow
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04 66 22 05 58 / 07 88 74 48 07