Renowned milliner try-ing to raise funds for rugby tour

The hat made by Margaret Woodliff Wright.
The hat made by Margaret Woodliff Wright.

A renowned contemporary designer has made a special hat to raise money for junior rugby players.

Using her millinery creativity, Margaret Woodliff Wright has designed an Alnwick Rugby Club-themed trilby, complete with club logo and finished with hand-plucked pheasant feather trim. 

It will go under the hammer at Greensfield on Saturday when the firsts host Westoe.

Money raised from the 2.30pm auction will go towards funding the club’s U9s’ May rugby tour in Yorkshire.

Margaret, from Doxford, said: “For the children, the opportunity to participate in a rugby tour provides an excellent team-building opportunity, playing an important part in their development, encouraging both social and game skills.

“My son, who is 16 and now attends Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, enjoyed playing for Alnwick’s mini and juniors and loved their tour to Yorkshire. My husband Simon is on the committee, so it is a cause close to my heart. I enjoy supporting a local club which is active in the community.” 

The hat is a completely hand-blocked piece, taking more than three days to make; its trim, button and lining have been upcycled from an Alnwick RFU club silk tie featuring the main club logo. The pheasant trim is made from locally-sourced pheasants, which she plucked on her kitchen table.

She said: “With its dramatic trim the hat is quite a bold piece and I am pleased to have had some good feedback.”

The inside of the trilby has been signed by Gavin Hastings OBE, the legendary former Scotland rugby captain, who will be guest of honour at the U7s–U9s’ festival in Alnwick on April 17. Milliner Margaret made a similar hat for an auction at Merchiston Castle School, which sold for £150.

Since launching her business, Margaret’s couture millinery creations have been selected for display at major fashion and textile exhibitions and she is using her talents to support fund-raising efforts for HospiceCare North Northumberland.