A surf club in Bude are to don hats in memory of a young woman who was lost to a brain tumour. 

Bude Blue Surf School are planning to take part in Brain Tumour Research’s Wear a Hat Day in memory of a surfer’s sister who died aged 25 from a brain tumour. 

Loughborough University graduate, Ria Melvin, was diagnosed with an aggressive and incurable glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumour, aged 23, in December 2018. She underwent two brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy and even went to Germany for immunotherapy treatment after more than £170,000 was raised through crowdfunding, but nothing could save her.

Whilst undergoing treatment, Ria, whose dream had been to join the police, was shocked by the lack of options available to brain tumour patients. She began working with Brain Tumour Research to campaign for change, which she said “is needed urgently” and spoke to her MP, Alex Burghart, who was then the Parliamentary Private Secretary to ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, about “the desperate need to increase the national investment into brain tumour research” and added: “It gives me a real sense of purpose, knowing I am helping others in my situation.”

Ria’s death in August 2021, aged 25, prompted her family to set up the Fundraising Group Raising4Ria under the umbrella of Brain Tumour Research to continue Ria’s legacy. So far more than £94,000 has been raised in Ria’s name, with more than £72,600 since her death.

Her sister Kaz, who now lives in Bude, worked at Queen’s Hospital, Romford where Ria underwent much of her treatment For the past few years staff on the neuroscience wards at the hospital have taken part in Wear A Hat Day and Kaz’s ex-colleagues have signed up to do it again this year on Friday 31 March with a shared lunch and as always, plenty of cake.

Now, Kaz is bringing the tradition to Bude, Kaz has enlisted the support of Big Blue Surf School. On Saturday 1 April, instructors and surfers who make up the Sirens Ladies Surf Club will gather on the beach with their surfboards to take selfies in hats and will continue their Wear A Hat Day event with hot drinks and cake in The Deck café afterwards from midday.

The theme of this year’s Wear A Hat Day is to look super for science. People are invited to pop a hat on and make a donation at www.braintumourresearch.org/WAHD-2023. You can even take a selfie to share on social media using #WearAHatDay.