MORE than 200 unique hats from knitters near and far have been donated to Durham University’s Palace Green Library after a call for crafters to knit, crochet or sew a hat fit for a hero.

The charity project was inspired by photographs of explorers wearing distinctive homemade hats featured in the Library’s current exhibition, Antarctica: Explorers, Heroes, Scientists.

The hats will be sold to raise money for veteran’s charity Walking with the Wounded, which organised a trek across the Antarctic in 2013. All proceeds will be donated to Head Start, the organisation’s mental health programme. 

Crafters have been encouraged to send in a short message which will be attached to each hat. One contributor said they had knitted a hat “in gratitude for the care given to my brother, an Antarctic scientist who fell and suffered brain injuries early in 2015.”

From 1 December, the hats will be sold for a suggested donation of £15 each at the Palace Green Library shop and the Durham Winter Festival. Barclay’s Bank has agreed to match-fund the first £1,000 raised.

Julie Biddlecombe-Brown, exhibitions officer at Palace Green Library, said: “Thank you to everyone who has been knitting, crocheting and sewing hats for us.

“From fun children’s hats with ears, to beautiful hats made with hand-spun wool, the sheer variety of hats we’ve received is amazing.

“Buying one of these unique hats is great way for people raise money for a fantastic cause whilst wrapping up warm for winter.”

Palace Green Library’s exhibition Antarctica: Explorers, Heroes, Scientists is on display until 7 February 2016. It includes two exhibitions on loan from the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers, alongside displays exploring how scientists from Durham University have contributed to our understanding of this most recently discovered continent.

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For more information on Walking for the Wounded, visit

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