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Round of applause for Wilf's hat trick; Inventor's new 'safe' headgear.

Byline: By SAM CASEY News Reporter

MORTARBOARD-related injuries could be a thing of the past!

That's if a new invention by eccentric former TV presenter Wilf Lunn, of Huddersfield, takes off.

The 66-year-old, who used to front the children's programme Vision On, has launched a one-man campaign to eradicate the menace posed by the hat's pointy corners.

He has tinkered with the design of the cap - worn by successful university students at graduation ceremonies - to produce a radical new circular shape to replace the traditional square.

Mr Lunn, who lives in Kirkburton, said: "The revolutionary design conforms to health and safety regulations to prevent eye injuries by the sharp corners of the traditional mortarboard when the wearer nods or bows indiscriminately."

The mortarboard is believed to have evolved from the biretta, a similar-looking hat worn by Roman Catholic clergy.

It gets its name from the board used by bricklayers to hold mortar.

Also known as an Oxford cap, it consists of a horizontal square board fixed upon a skull-cap, with a tassel, or liripipe, attached to the centre.

While Mr Lunn's antidote to the hat's traditional style might seem frivolous, a quick search of the internet reveals at least one reference to the potential dangers posed by mortarboard corners.

The American National Centre for Biotechnology Information website, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, reports an incident in which a student was hurt.

It says: "A 17-year-old girl was struck in the right eye by a mortarboard tossed into the air during high school graduation exercises.

"She suffered commotioretinae (reduced vision caused by trauma) with damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (a layer of cells in the eye) and macular hole formation (the creation of a hole in the macula, which is part of the retina)."

Mr Lunn, who made weekly appearances on Vision On in the 1970s to demonstrate his latest inventions with Tony Hart and Sylvester McCoy, later went on to appear in other shows including Jigsaw and Eureka.

More of his wacky inventions can be found at www.wilflunn.com

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TOPS: Wilf Lunn and his new mortar board (zzhud270308mortar-1).; OUCH: easy to see how the square mortarboard could have somebody's eye out. Inventor Wilf Lunn (right) may have the answer
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 31, 2008
Words:373
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