Plymouth Citybus has launched a special vehicle in partnership with national charity, Brain Tumour Research and the University of Plymouth.

The bus was launched on Wear A Hat Day (Thursday 29 March) – the annual fundraiser for Brain Tumour Research – and will be used to raise awareness of the funding needed to continue research into a disease that affects thousands of families each year.

It will also be used as a promotional vehicle at key fundraising events throughout the year, including the Britain’s Ocean City 10K and Half Marathon races.

The University of Plymouth is home to one of four Centres of Excellence set up by Brain Tumour Research, where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.

Professor Oliver Hanemann is the lead researcher at Brain Tumour Research’s Centre of Excellence in Plymouth, and Director of the University’s Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine (ITSMED).

The team in the Centre of Excellence is focussed on how low-grade brain tumours develop. These tumours are usually slow-growing but can become malignant.

Professor Hanemann said: “Our team are leaders in the investigation of low-grade brain tumours, which are usually slow-growing and frequently affect children and young adults. Such tumours can be just as devastating as malignant tumours and can bring equally dangerous and debilitating effects to patients by causing neurological conditions including loss of balance, weakness, cognitive problems, poor hearing, epilepsy and personality changes.”

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any age. What’s more they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Behind the wheel of the bus was Managing Director of Plymouth Citybus, Richard Stevens, who said: “To have a cutting-edge research facility on our doorstep is great for Plymouth and shows that the city is leading the way in research into brain tumours. We’re proud to be supporting such a worthwhile cause and hope the striking new bus really helps to raise awareness of a disease that affects so many people each year. Passengers travelling on the bus will able to donate on board as well as find out more about where the money raised will go.”

Wear A Hat Day has raised over a million pounds since it was launched by Brain Tumour Research nine years ago.

The money raised funds research that is taking place at the charity’s four Centres of Excellence, including the one at the University of Plymouth.

In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Emma Cronin, Fundraising Manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “I’m so pleased to see so many people from across Plymouth donning their hats and raising money for Wear A Hat Day 2018. We would like to thank everyone for their support. Every year thousands of people are given the news that they have a brain tumour and often the treatment options are limited. The money raised today will go towards pioneering research that is taking place at the University of Plymouth.”