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‘Magnificent’ hats of election returning officers take social media by storm

Returning officer Annie Brewster donned a large brimmed hat to declare the result for Welwyn Hatfield (Elena Giuliano/PA)
Returning officer Annie Brewster donned a large brimmed hat to declare the result for Welwyn Hatfield (Elena Giuliano/PA)

Flamboyant hats worn by some returning officers during the General Election count have been described by those on social media as “magnificent” and better than the candidates themselves.

Annie Brewster, the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, took to the podium in the aptly named Welwyn Hatfield to declare Defence Secretary Grant Shapps had lost his seat to Labour while wearing a wide-brimmed hat topped with feathers.

Late-night election count watchers on X, formerly Twitter, said her headwear was “magnificent”, with some feeling it was better than Mr Shapps himself.

X user John wrote: “Grant Shapps loses to Labour – another MINISTER bites the dust – the SIXTH so far.

“Actually he could have been beaten by that returning officers hat. That was magnificent.”

Another user echoed the sentiment.

Others suggested that Mr Shapps may have wished he could have been behind the large hat following the announcement of the loss of his seat which he has held since 2005.

“I bet Shapps wishes he was the one directly behind that hat…,” one X user wrote.

Mark Mitchener also joked on X about whether the hat would be “returned to nearby Whipsnade Zoo, or released back into the wild?”.

Another returning officer, Lucia Bridgeman, the High Sheriff of Northumberland, who announced the results in the Blyth and Ashington constituency, also took social media by storm with her headwear.

Ms Bridgeman wore a large brimmed hat adorned with feathers, complete with a matching ruffled white collar.

X user Seamus Ryan dubbed the Northumberland constituency as one “where they appreciate that all governmental power emanates from having a funky hat”.

Others suggested they were keen to know where the returning officer had purchased her garments, saying they were “brilliant”.

Meanwhile, X user Kieren Rees suggested Ms Bridgeman’s headwear was the best he had seen all night.

However, he was soon forced to correct himself…