The British Polio Fellowship charity made a huge impact at Royal Ascot Ladies’ Day yesterday, 16 June, as it unveiled a show-stopping fox hat in recognition of Leicester City FC winning the Premier League this year, and to raise awareness of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS). PPS is a neurological condition affecting around 120,000 people in the UK. The fox hat drew huge attention from crowds and the media at Royal Ascot’s famous sporting and fashion event. It was one of ten sports team themed hats commissioned by the British Polio Fellowship from British milliner Janice Charles.
Ted Hill MBE, CEO of the British Polio Fellowship, said: “Leicester City FC astounded the sports world this year by topping the Premier League, having previously been dismissed as not a contender for the coveted title. It’s a demonstration how determination can win, and determination against the odds is what many people living with PPS also show.
“We have to work really hard to raise awareness of PPS as most of the public think that polio is a thing of the past – research shows that only 7% of the British public have heard of PPS. The reality is there are many thousands of people still living with the effects of polio in the UK. The hat drew a huge amount of attention and it was fantastic! Everyone at the races loved it,” concluded Ted.
PPS occurs in 80% of people that have had polio; symptoms include a severe reduction in stamina, cold intolerance and muscle pain. It affects around the same number of people who have Parkinson’s disease.
Over the past three years, The British Polio Fellowship has become a strong voice for accessible fashion, after its inaugural fashion campaign in June 2014 that saw the design and production of the world’s first dress to fully incorporate a wheelchair. Following the success of last year’s fashion campaign to raise awareness of PPS day 2015 (which featured an entire collection designed by designer Aleah Leigh and modelled by British Polio Fellowship Ambassadors Anne Wafula-Strike MBE and Julia Roberts of QVC fame, alongside Premier League star Julian Speroni), the charity wanted to make an even bigger impact this summer.