Courageous & Outrageous: Helen's Hats

By Pat Nichol

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My late friend Helen Martin spent her lifetime collecting hats. But Helen’s hats were not just caps, toques or chapeaus, they were HATS. Think beautiful, elegant hats you may see aristocrats wearing at Royal Ascot; Helen’s hats would have fit right in. This collection is not only wearable, each item is a work of art. Helen’s collection covered three walls of her bedroom and she always delighted in sharing their beauty with visitors. 

Not merely a hat collector, Helen was also very involved in her community. She had been a nurse, was passionate about politics, and remained physically active until the end of her life. She had no compunction about arguing a point and, consequently, made a few adversaries along the way. She also made some powerful friends.

Helen passed away in December 2015. She left on her own terms. In the weeks before her death, she held court and everyone who came to visit was offered food and drink. Always the consummate hostess, she wanted to make sure she was part of the party.

One of the legacies Helen left behind were her hats. She donated her fabulous collection to Victoria Hospice on the condition they auction them off. Her wish will be granted with all the class and dignity she would have demanded of an event with which she was involved.

Hats for Hospice Tea Party and Hat Auction will take place at the Beach House, 5109 Cordova Bay Rd in Victoria, on April 23 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through Margo McIntosh at 250-519-1741 or

Come for tea, come see Helen’s crowning jewels, and come support hospice. I have my ticket; I look forward to seeing you there.


april 2017 INSPIRED senior living




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