CAMPAIGNERS across Swindon tipped their handmade hats yesterday to the thousands of people nationwide fighting to rebuild their lives following a brain injury.

Firms Withy King, Novum Law and Co-op Travel fashioned berets, sombreros, turbans and many more millinery experiments out of felt, fabrics and cardboard in support of Hats For Headway Day.

The event, staged by charity Headway Swindon and District, was held to coincide with Action For Brain Injury Week in a bid to raise awareness of an often misunderstood issue.

Although progress has been made over the years, the public remains widely ignorant about head trauma and its dramatic impact on people’s lives, according to centre manager Jane Weston.

“There are certain well-known conditions which everybody understands but brain injury is not one of them,” she said. “It doesn’t have as much of a dedicated focus. “It’s quite difficult to diagnose and it seems hard to see.

“There is still a long way to go; it is still not understood by a lot of people. “There can be a lot of judgement and there are a lot of misconceptions.

“For example if someone is wobbly on their feet as a result of their injury or doesn’t speak very clearly, they could easily be mistaken as being drunk. It’s very difficult.”

The centre uses cognitive rehabilitation therapy to allow people who have suffered a head trauma or injury to relearn skills such as their ability to speak, read or write and use their short-term memory, that may have been affected as a result of damage to the brain.

Jane said: “If it affects the bread winner of the family, they can lose their job so it has a dramatic effect on the whole family.

“When someone suffers a brain injury it can be incredibly debilitating. It can lead to a change in behaviour and how do you explain to children why mummy or daddy has changed?

“It can put a lot of strain on a marriage and family.”

More about Headway Swindon on 01793 617109, info@headway or at