Next up for our Out and About series we are interviewing Sue Morant from Pink Wig. Pink Wig is such an iconic event for Falmouth and one we are proud sponsors of. We know how important it is to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer and how many women have been affected by this (or know somebody who has). It has been incredible to see how much Pink Wig has grown and raised so much money for charity. Here we find out a little more about the event, from the origin to the plan for this year:
Can you tell us a bit about Pink Wig? What it is and when it takes place?
Pink Wig is a ladies only fundraising event, where ladies wear pink wigs and parade through Falmouth town, led by the infamous Falmouth Marine Band and Betty Stoggs. We congregate at the Greenbank Hotel, who have been so supportive of our event. The Pink Wig ladies enjoy drinks and cocktails before the start of the parade along Greenbank, to The Moor, ending up at the Waterfront, Church Street car park.
It takes place on the first Friday night of Falmouth Week in August, this year it is August 4th. We always have our resident DJ, Nate Valentino. He flies back from playing sets in Spain so he can DJ at our event each summer and he says it is one of his favourite nights of the year. We are so grateful to Nate who never charges Pink Wig yet plays some of the most awesome sets. Embrace Dance and Fitness warm the ladies up with a fun-packed Zumba session. The Strutts have also been supporting Pink Wig for many years with a great mix of numbers so it’s a lot of fun with some brilliant tunes.
What is the origin of the event and why was it set up?
Pink Wig started in 2009 when Sally Hicks-Wood, our founder, was diagnosed with breast cancer, although no funds were raised in 2009. Back then, Sally and a group of close friends went into Falmouth town wearing pink wigs before Sally’s treatment and surgery. While on their ‘pub crawl’ they kept getting offered money as people thought they were fundraising, this sowed a seed for Sally and the first fundraising Pink Wig night was formed in 2010.
2010 was our first fundraising event, another trawl through the pubs of Falmouth, but this time with collection pots and buckets. In 2011 the event had grown massively, and the pubs were struggling to serve and contain the hundreds of women that attended the event, so it became an event of its own. We got in contact with Tim Vigus of South West Bars and agreed a date so that we could have our very own event. We now welcome around 1500 women.
Pink Wig supports Cornwall Breast Care Team locally and sends a large amount of the money collected to BCN, Breast Cancer Now, who do the most amazing breakthrough research. In 2010 we raised £1,000 at our first fundraising night. We more than doubled this in the second year and then for our first ever official Pink Wig night as part of Falmouth Week we raised £7,700. Sadly, Sally passed away in May 2014, but the event goes on in her memory. And it has grown so much, she has left a real legacy. The year after she passed away, we raised £14,500 and this has increased year on year to last August when we raised a staggering £30,000. In total we have raised £147,710 for these incredible charities.
We would love to know a bit more about how you work with these charities
We were delighted to receive an invitation from Breast Cancer Now to visit the research laboratories at the Toby Robins Research Centre housed in the Mary Jean Mitchell-Green Building at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, to see the breakthrough research that is taking place and to see how the fundraising money from Pink Wig is spent. The event included an explanatory talk and slide show from Dr Alex Bonner, Head of Research Resources for BCN, the Pink Wig team then switched our wigs for lab coats to have a tour. Visiting 3 different laboratories, the Gene function team, the Molecular oncology team and the Molecular cell biology team where the crucial study which found that a group of drugs called PARP inhibitors could target weaknesses in cancer cells with faulty BRCA genes. It was such an interesting tour but also humbling and emotional.
For us, as a local fundraising group, we understand how important it is to keep a percentage of the money raised to support the Cornwall Breast Care Team, and we’ve also donated not only money but a picnic bench to The Cove, but we also know that without fundraising, the BCN Research Centre wouldn’t exist as it is solely funded by money raised by individual groups and donations. Our mission statement has always been to raise funds for vital research projects, the best care for breast cancer patients in Cornwall and a safer future for the next generation. This is what we are striving for, and we are incredibly passionate about. We all know someone who has been affected by or lost their life to breast cancer, so for us, it’s about raising funds, raising awareness and promoting the research. That is at the heart of everything Pink Wig represents.
Can anyone attend Pink Wig and how do they find out about it?
Any pink wig wearing ladies are welcome to attend but must be over 18 to enter the marquee. More information is available from our Facebook page, or our website and you can purchase tickets from there as well: www.pinkwigevents.org.uk
We are so proud to be sponsors of Pink Wig and know we are among brilliant company. Could you tell us a little bit about your sponsors?
Of course! Our main sponsors are Heather & Lay, Hine Downing and Trident Plumbing and Heating and our new additional sponsors for 2023 are Kernow Coatings, A&P Falmouth, The Kitchen Hub, Salon-in-the Square and Catherine Cooper Beauty. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all of the people who support Pink Wig in various ways – Tim Vigus of South West Bars for the hire of the marquee, The Greenbank Hotel for their support of the pre-parade party, Ardent Construction for storage of our equipment, Ian Butler Photography for taking the best pictures of the night, Falmouth Town Council for continual support of our event, Devon and Cornwall 4 x 4 Response for marshalling and support of our event, Falmouth Marine Band and of course, Betty Stoggs!
Also, a massive thank you to the Pink Wig Team – Emma Kent, our Chairperson, Kathryn Stivey, our Vice-Chair, Michelle Bray, our Co-Ordinator and Jay Wicks, the Digital Co-Ordinator. What a brilliant team!
Well, thank you Sue, that was so interesting, and we are really proud and passionate to support Pink Wig as well. This year, the theme is pyjama party. So be sure to join us in your pyjamas (and the mandatory pink wig) and we’ll see you on Church Street, cocktails in hand!