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How Carrie Symond’s Commonwealth hat maker is cheering up her neighbours during the coronavirus lockdown

Milliner Anne Gretton is putting her creativity to good use

HELLO! Magazine

Celebrity hat maker Anne Gretton, the woman who created the stylish navy headpiece the Prime Minister's fiancée Carrie Symonds wore to this year's Commonwealth service with the royals, has channelled her creativity into spreading joy during lockdown. After this year's Royal Ascot, usually an event full of amazing headwear, was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, milliner Anne found herself with a free time on her hands. So she decided to spread some joy and cheer up her neighbours during the Covid-19 lockdown.

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Anne's Easter baskets created for her neighbours

"I wanted to stay creative so I distributed some Easter gift baskets around to my local community," said Anne, who lives in South West London. "I've also started baking things like soda bread for vulnerable people who are stuck at home. I've gone a long way from hats!"

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The response has been incredible, said Anne. "I’ve had thankyou cards and calls – people are so sweet! It feels like there is a strong community spirit." Also sticking to what she does best, Anne, whose AJ Gretton Millinery offers bespoke headpieces, also crafted some special headbands for young girls who live near her.

"I thought I better not completely get out of the loop with hats, so I made some Easter headbands for the little girls in each Easter basket," said Anne, who is also working on a sustainable collection using packaging from chocolate boxes. "People can't get to the hairdressers so they want headbands more than ever." 

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Milliner Anne Gretton

Anne's designs have proved a hit with many famous faces, including newsreader and former Strictly Come Dancing star Kate Silverton and Carrie Symonds, who finished her blue ensemble off at the Commonweath Service in March with a stylish navy headband created by Anne, complete with floral and feather details.

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