Meet the group of women who are led by a rogue Queen, enjoy ‘growing old disgracefully’ and wear red hats and purple dresses!
The Tamar Teasers is the only Red Hatters group in Cornwall and was set up in 2021 by Ann Moore, or Queen Americano, as she is known to the group!
They advertise it as, ‘a local group of ladies who want to have fun, friendship and to share good times.’ Their motto is ‘Live, Love, Laugh’, and the group is for women over 50 who wish to celebrate ‘growing old disgracefully’.
They currently have an age range of about 60 – 80 plus, with younger members welcome and honorary grandchildren and friends allowed to come along for some meetings and socials. Younger members (under 50 years) can join, however, they are known as ‘Pinkies’ and an alternative dress code is required consisting of a lilac dress and pink hat!
Ann runs the group of currently 17 members with her two Vice-Queens, Vice-Queen Campari and Vice-Queen Dragon! There is a lot of fun to be had at this group and the names are no exception - members must give themselves an official Red Hatters name when they join!
The Tamar Teasers were following the theme of drinks for a while, so the group currently includes a ‘Lady Rattler’, ‘Countess Champagne’ and ‘Lady Double Gin’, but some strayed from the theme and went for some rather more racy regal titles instead…
The back story…
The Red Hat society is a global organisation that was first established in America in 1998 and came to the UK in 2001. Its origins were inspired by the wonderful poem, ‘Warning’ by English poet, Jenny Joseph which reads, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple/ With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.”
When Sue Ellen Cooper from California bought her friend a red fedora for her birthday from a charity shop or ‘thrift store’ with the line of this poem in mind, this sparked a desire in her friends to do the same, and soon a global movement.
The Red Hat Society quickly grew and formed into a slightly bigger and more complicated enterprise from its humble beginnings. However, at the heart of it, there is always a desire to create local groups that allow ageing women to meet like-minded people, to socialise and grow older in a fun-loving fashion…while wearing fun-loving fashion!
Due to the growth and fees of the original Red Hat Society, some groups split off from the affiliated groups and were led by those known as, rogue Queens! Ann Moore, from the Tamar Teasers is one of those rogue Queens, meaning that she and her group members don’t pay a membership fee to a larger organisation. It is just a fun, local group that follows some of the whimsical guidelines from its Red Hat Society origins.
What? When? And where? …
The group hold their monthly meetings at The Rifle Volunteer in the village of St Ann’s Chapel, where they drink, chat, laugh, play games and discuss the upcoming social activities they have planned. This could include a trip to the theatre, cinema, coffee and cake trip, a 1970’s weekend at Butlins, skittles or their own ‘sticky 13’ charity fundraiser.
Ann told Launceston Life: “I used to run a friendship group and that’s where my games and ideas come from. I continued to run it until I moved. I also became a member of the Red Hatter group, The Seaside Sizzlers - my friend was one and there was a waiting list at the time, so I had to wait and then be interviewed to see if I was suitable! I was - surprise!”
So, when Ann moved to Cornwall and wanted to establish another fun social group, she decided to form a ‘Red Hatters’ of her own. Ann said: “There were no RH groups in Cornwall to transfer to, so the Queen of the Sizzlers suggested I form a group and supported me, along with the ARQ (Association of Rouge Queens), to establish one here. I walked around all the local villages & towns putting posters up. Ladies called and the rest is history.”
Their current members come from various parts of Cornwall and their activities take them all over the county; sometimes they even cross the border and enjoy socials with their Devon friends, The Honiton Honeys.
Ann is a very caring individual, providing a lot of the fun and whimsy at her own expense. She now provides members who have been with the group for over a year with a custom-made red hat pin badge created by a local artist and once a year she holds ‘The Queen’s Garden Party’ in her own garden, providing food, drink and entertainment for her members!
Launceston Life were kindly invited to one of The Tamar Teaser’s meetings, a Jubilee special, which included a ‘Best Hat’ competition where everyone donned their most snazzy, homemade, patriotic millinery.
The hats suggested these ladies were a creative bunch and Launceston Life were told that amongst them is a traditional Cornish Bard and storyteller, who, when with her fellow Red Hatters, goes by the name of Lady Loveage and Dame Dranbuie is a Morris dancer with ‘The Wreckers’! So there is a lot of wisdom, stories and talent to be shared and creative fun to be had with this group of ladies!
There really is a wonderful sense of positive community that emanates from this group and a lot of joy to be shared with some lovely people – as long as you can release your inner-extrovert and wear the uniform with pride!
Still not sure if this is the group for you?
Then, who could describe it better than the group themselves? Here is an excerpt from the official song of The Tamar Teasers, written by Vice Queen Campari (Laura Perdon), sung to the tune of ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’...
They say we’re not true Hatters, and some would call us ‘rogue’
We say it doesn’t matter, if we keep the Red Hat code.
We like to have a party, we love to sing and dance
We’re gonna kick our heels up, cos this could be our last chance!