Monday, 15 April 2024
Monday, 15 April 2024

Mystery hand to give out ‘free smiles’ in Edinburgh

On 11th and 12th July, members of the public can get their mitts on free gifts from a mystery hand, at a new interactive billboard installation popping up in Edinburgh. Virgin Experience Days Gift Cards, Anastacia Tour Tickets, David Walliams Books, everlasting flower bouquets and Edinburgh Fringe Kidzone tickets are among the many grin-giving gifts up for grabs.

Every three minutes, a baby is born around the world with a cleft lip or palate; a serious medical condition that can jeopardise their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and smile.

As July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month, Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, will be launching the billboard installation on Edinburgh’s busy Castle Street, to help highlight this stark figure to the public and encourage them to consider the power of smiling.

The interactive billboard, operating between 2.30pm-5.30pm on Monday 11th and 10am-1pm on Tuesday 12th, will feature a giant digital clock along with the words ‘When the clock hits three, take a smile for free.’ Every three minutes, when the clock has reached its ‘03:00’ target, a hand will emerge from a mysterious hole and give out a free gift to one lucky member of the public – in a bid to get them beaming.

Gifts to spark smiles for all ages, which have been graciously donated by a mixture of local businesses and major brands, will include; Virgin Experience Days vouchers, Anastacia Tour Tickets, children’s books from Harper Collins (including family favourites Gangsta Granny by David Walliams and The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss), tickets to any show in The Pleasance Theatre Trust’s Edinburgh Fringe Kidzone Programme, Escape Room and Magic Bubblers tickets from the Department of Magic, everlasting flower bouquet’s from Dried Edinburgh, tickets to The Muppets Christmas Carol – Live with Orchestra – at Usher Hall, fantastically flavourful, all-natural snacks from Fruit Bowl, nutritionally complete snacks from Huel, 3D printed vitamins from Nourished, and a Therabody Wave Duo vibrating roller massage ball, to name but a few!

The installation coincides with the 14th International Cleft Congress, Cleft 2022, which will be taking place between 11th – 15th July in Edinburgh this year. This prestigious gathering of global cleft experts, the largest of its kind, takes place every four years, and this year Smile Train is the proud premier supporter. As part of the Congress, the charity will launch a host of initiatives and debut a range of innovative technology. This will include the launch of the co-branded Lifebox-Smile Train Pulse Oximeter, an announcement on the charity’s increasing focus on psychosocial health, the European debut of its Simulare Medical bilateral surgical simulation model, a ground-breaking technological solution for surgical training and a demo of new advancements in its Virtual Surgery Simulator (VSS) technology.

Ian Vallance, Smile Train UK Director, said: 

“Every three minutes another baby is born somewhere around the world, struggling to breathe, speak, and eat due to a cleft. Our billboard installation on Castle Street intends to educate more people in the UK about the impact that cleft can have on children, particularly in countries where treatment isn’t readily available, whilst helping to spread some smiles in the process.

A big thank you to all of the brands and businesses who have graciously donated to us for this event. There are some fantastic gifts to be given out, so we encourage people to get down to Castle Street early to be in with a chance of receiving one – along with some information about Smile Train and our work. Together we can change the world one smile at a time!”

A cleft is the most common facial difference globally, affecting around 1 in 700 babies. In the UK, cleft surgery is carried out within the first 12 months of a baby’s life by the National Health Service (NHS).

However, hundreds of thousands of children living in resource-poor communities worldwide do not have access to the lifesaving cleft treatment they desperately need.

Smile Train’s sustainable model empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. Since 1999, Smile Train has supported safe and quality cleft care for 1.5+ million children and will continue to do so until every person in need with a cleft has access to the care they deserve.

Learn how you can help to give children in need the opportunity to live, thrive, and, of course, smile at

#EveryThreeMinutes     #CleftAwarenessMonth


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