Beacons and fires

Remember, remember the 5th November! Guy Fawkes night and not a firework to be seen – yet…

Fireworks like beacons are lit with a purpose, to be seen and attract attention – but sometimes fireworks like fires can have unintended consequences – let’s hope everyone has a safe but enjoyable night.

Yesterday, I was honoured to receive a Beacon Prize for Leadership in the stunning Goldsmith’s Hall which was almost certainly standing when Guy Fawkes got up to his mischief! There in front of so much gold plate, I received flattering applause and said that I was proud to be a Beacon. They made a little film about me too – which says quite a lot in a short space, I think: 

The unintended fire that caused my injuries all those years ago had the effect of making my face and me stand out from the crowd – and attract a huge amount of unwanted attention. This was acutely uncomfortable and it took me much trial and error to work out how to live confidently and with high self-esteem with my face.

I used yesterday’s occasion to publicly thank everyone who has helped me to do so – my parents and family, friends and colleagues – and now, all the generous donors who have enabled me to create an organisation dedicated to empowering others to do similar whatever the cause of their facial disfigurement… and to changing the way in which the wider culture accepts and welcomes our faces in all their diversity.

I said I was proud to be a Beacon, a leading light perhaps but what I now realise I should have said is that what I really want – eventually – is not to be a beacon any more because there are so many ‘lights’ around me, people with unusual faces living fulfilled lives in a fully inclusive, fair and non-prejudiced society…

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