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Royal visit to life-changing scar free research programme

Yesterday, our Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex, visited the world-leading facial reconstruction research programme based at Swansea University, meeting researchers to learn more about the study, and our Ambassadors who could benefit from the pioneering research.

The £2.5million RECONREGEN programme, funded by The Scar Free Foundation and Health and Care Research Wales, launched last year. The three-year initiative is currently investigating pioneering 3D bioprinting of nose and ear cartilage using human cells, as well as the world’s largest study of how facial scarring impacts mental health.

HRH The Countess of Wessex, accompanied by lead Ambassador for The Scar Free Foundation Simon Weston CBE, toured the bespoke research lab, received a demonstration of the 3D printer and met our Ambassadors who could benefit from this life-changing research including Scar Free Foundation Ambassadors Jaco Nel who survived sepsis with life changing consequences, Elizabeth Soffe who survived severe burns at just 6 months old and army veteran Martyn Compton who survived burns to 75% of this body whilst serving in Afghanistan.


The research shown here today brings hope that those living with scarring will be able to lead a life where their disfigurement doesn't control their everyday life.

HRH, The Countess of Wessex


The opportunity to rebuild the confidence of people who have facial and body disfigurements is immense. You can’t change what happens to people but through this research and development you can change what their future can look like.

Simon Weston CBE, Lead Ambassador and Falkland's War survivor


Specialty Lead Professor Iain Whitaker and his team also provided a private tour of the labs to Scar Free Ambassadors, our Chairman Sir Bruce Keogh and Research Council Chairman Professor Peter Weissberg. The tour gave a unique insight into the revolutionary equipment that is being used, and a chance to see the 3-D Bioprinter in action.