Update Event Cover

Annual Update Event and Ambassador Tea 2023

Every year, The Scar Free Foundation invites supporters to learn more about our research at our Annual Update Event. Two things made this year’s event extra special – not only was it our new Chief Executive’s first event at the helm, but before the event we invited our Ambassadors to an Afternoon Tea with our Board of Trustees.

The idea for the Afternoon Tea came from Hemani Modasia-Shah, an Ambassador and Trustee. As an Ambassador for some 15 years, she noted that she rarely spoke to the Board of Trustees, – “I’m not sure I could have pointed them out in a crowd,” she said. When she joined the Board of Trustees herself last year, she immediately proposed bringing the two groups together for an in-person event. Suffice to say Board and Scar Free staff unanimously agreed to such a brilliant idea! The lived experience of people living with scarring lies at the heart of our strategy – it only made sense for the Trustees and staff to meet and discuss our shared values and aims.

In the afternoon before the Update Event, we welcomed five of our Trustees and around 20 of our Ambassadors into the beautiful Lumley Library in the Royal College of Surgeons. Hemani got things started, and after some brief speeches from Richard and Head of Research, Charlotte, the afternoon was given over to delicious food and warm conversation.

We’re thrilled to say that the Ambassador Afternoon Tea was a great success! There were new friendships, lots of laughs, and some exciting fresh ideas for research and fundraising efforts.

After a brief break where guests waiting were able to have exclusive after-hours access to The Royal College of Surgeon's Huntarian Museum (special thanks to the RCS for supporting this), we welcomed more guests to the Lumley Library for our Update Event and drinks reception. The evening offered the Scar Free family – our enthusiastic supporters, dedicated researchers, and passionate Ambassadors - the opportunity to learn more about our Scar Free projects.

Our new Chief Executive, Richard Nugee, kicked off the evening by introducing himself and providing an overview of our research strategy. Some highlights of his speech can be watched below.

Professor Iain Whitaker spoke about the projects ongoing at Swansea University. He gave us an insight into the ground-breaking 3D BIOFACE project, and offered a sneak peek at the results of the soon-to-be published AFFECT study into facial scarring and anxiety and depression.

Though Iain was a tough act to follow, Dr Oscar Peña Cabello then wowed us all with a presentation on his research at the University of Bristol. He explained how he and his team are using zebrafish and population health data to pinpoint the genes involved in scarring. He also highlighted two similar projects in Brazil and Leicester into scar size and lung fibrosis as exciting opportunities for collaboration.

David Wiseman also took to the stage. He shared his story of how sustaining an injury in Afghanistan led to the founding of the CASEVAC Club – a close-knit community of wounded veterans who've made it their mission to contribute their experiences to push forward medical research. The CASEVAC Club are our research partners in the Centre for Conflict Wound Research.

Professor Naiem Moiemen also gave a talk on the history of burns research and the current research being done at The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wounds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

We were delighted to end the event on a high note by presenting Naiem and his team at the University of Birmingham with an Outstanding Achievement Award. The plaque honours their unwavering commitment to scar-free research, spanning an impressive 11 years – with many more to come.

The day was brought to a close with drinks and conversation at a reception in the Erasmus Wilson Room. The day’s events provided a unique insight into the problems of scarring and the pioneering research we are funding to achieve our mission: to achieve scar free healing within a generation and transform the lives of those affected by disfiguring conditions.