230 ladies from The Red Hat Society descended into Ely today celebrate their 15th year as a group of ladies who can now say they can.
Julie McGinley, Queen of the Sluice Women Chapter from Downham Market told Spotted in Ely “Every year on April 25th we come from all of chapters to spend the societies birthday together and here we are in Ely.
“The society is made up of ladies who have worked all their lives and brought up children and never had time to focus on ourselves and now this is our time”.
Ladies in the society wear red and purple and each chapter nominates a leader in which they call Queen and between them they decide where to go next after doing what they define as a recce some time ago.
The ladies will spend the afternoon, shopping, exploring and wining and dining at various locations. Some of the ladies told us they were looking forward to lunch at the Old Fire Engine and Poets House.
The Red Hat Society Poem:
by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, with a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on Brandy and summer gloves,
And satin sandals and say we’ve no money for butter,
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops, and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
and make up for the sobriety of my youth,
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain,
and pick flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit…………………
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple
About the Red Hat Society
In 1998 Sue Ellen Cooper, an American lady framed a copy of the above poem and gave it to her friend, together with a red hat as a 50th birthday present. This friend copied the idea when her friend had a birthday etc. etc. Thus before long these friends found that they were a club of ladies who were practicing how to grow old dis-gracefully.
The idea of ladies of a ‘certain age’ bonding together and making time for themselves to indulge in some friendship, fun and frivolity – usually after many years of being carers of other’s needs – is very appealing. Currently there are more than an amazing 40,000 chapters world wide in countries as far flung as Australia, Sweden, Holland, Spain, China, Russia and of course, America and the UK.