Pub under fire for lack of compassion

A woman undergoing chemo-therapy for breast cancer spoke last night of her humiliation and anger after a barman demanded that she take off the hat she wears to hide her hair-loss.

A woman undergoing chemo-therapy for breast cancer spoke last night of her humiliation and anger after a barman demanded that she take off the hat she wears to hide her hair-loss.

Liz White, 55, was asked to remove her baseball cap at the Woodman pub, Old Catton, near Norwich, while out with her husband on Monday night, because of a no-hat policy the pub operates following violent threats from gangs wearing caps.

But although Mrs White's husband Tony told him why she was wearing it, the couple claim their pleas were ignored and decided to leave the pub rather than make a fuss.

The barman followed them out to apologise and explain.

Mrs White said: “I got so upset I walked out. The barman came outside and said to me, 'I'm sorry for that, but there was a young guy in here earlier and I made him take off his cap'. I said, 'I can agree with what you say, but I'm not a young yob, I'm 55.'

“I can appreciate why they want to do something like this in nightclubs, for identification purposes, but we are not pulling the wool over anybody's eyes.”

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She added: “I'm just so angry and annoyed to think he didn't have any compassion… I had been trying to be so strong and positive, but I have started crying because I felt like a freak.

“I can't believe they thought I was a security risk, it's just ridiculous. I just wished they had used some common sense.”

Last night, landlord Darren Reilly apologised for the lack of discretion shown, and said he was trying to get in contact to say sorry personally.

He pointed out that Mrs White had been in the pub the week before and was allowed to keep her hat on.

“I really regret what has happened and I am now going to sit down with the staff and review matters. I have trained them on a no hats and no hoodies policy because of incidents in the past but not when dealing with something like this but I would have hoped some discretion would have been used,” he said.

“I am very, very upset about the whole situation.”

Stephen Richards, Macmillan Cancer Support director for Norfolk and a former Macmillan nurse, said: “Although I can appreciate how the management of the pub feel, particularly if there has been a recent incident with people wearing baseball caps, I think there's an issue about people being properly educated, not understanding what living with cancer means.

“It must have been awful for this lady to have to discuss her situation in a pub. She had to discuss something in public that perhaps she didn't want to have to discuss. They could have shown some flexibility and some sympathy.

“More people are living with cancer and more and more people are losing their hair because of their treatment, but they want to live normal lives, and living with cancer means going to the pub.”