Community of Saffron Walden rallies in support of breast cancer woman branded ‘sick freak’ in Tesco

A hand-knitted booby hat similar to the one worn by the woman who was insulted in Tesco.

A hand-knitted booby hat similar to the one worn by the woman who was insulted in Tesco. - Credit: Archant

Social media exploded last night (Wednesday) with an outpouring of support for a woman diagnosed with breast cancer.

People from Saffron Walden and the surrounding villages were outraged after reading how the woman, who has so far remained anonymous, was stopped by a member of the public in Tesco and told the hand-knitted ‘booby hat’ she was wearing was “offensive”.

In a letter directed at the person who confronted her, the woman wrote: “You told me that you took offence to the hat and I should take it off. I started to politely explain that I’m currently affected by breast cancer and have lost my hair through chemotherapy.

“I was hoping the hat would encourage people to talk to me, so I could explain and raise awareness of the importance of knowing and checking your own breasts.”

She added: “But you only let me get as far as telling you I had lost my hair through chemotherapy before you interrupted, telling me that perhaps I should stay behind closed doors until I didn’t look like a ‘sick freak’. You then just walked off.

“I quietly paid for my shopping and left before anyone noticed the tears.”

In response to the letter, a Facebook page was set up called ‘Saffron Walden Boobiebellion’. It attracted 200 likes in less than an hour and by this morning was up to more than 1,700 and counting.

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A post by the administrator of the page read: “Wow! Less than an hour after setting up this page there were just over 200 likes, I went out to meet some friends and two hours later there are over 1,000!

“What started and has been fuelled by support but also very strongly by disgust and anger has become something far greater.

“Facebook, social media and society in general often get quite a slating, but there is so much power for good and human nature still shows that it tends towards a wonderfully positive community spirit and so much desire to help and support each other.”

People also began changing their profile pictures to hand-knitted booby hats to show their support. It is hoped the hats will be sold on to raise money for charity.

A ‘Booby Hat Flash Mob’ event is now being organised for Saturday, February 14 outside the Tesco store on Radwinter Road. Full details are still being finalised about exactly what it will involve but for more information visit

Check back to the Reporter’s website and pick up a copy of next week’s paper for more on the story.