As we approach the end of 2023, this month’s column is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on another fantastic year of creating smiles – and what a year it’s been!
We are so proud of everything we have achieved this year, and it’s credit to our incredible family of UK supporters that we’re able to continue the life-changing work we are doing around the world.
Here, are some of our 2023 supporter highlights that have made this year so special:
- Smile Train UK fundraisers taking on astonishing challenges pushing their bodies to the limit as part of Team EMPOWER in order to raise vital funds for Smile Train, including marathons, hiking the Inca Trail, and covering the route from the source of the River Medway to the mouth of the Medway on foot, bikes, and canoes in a day, to name just a few!
- Launching our very first celebri-TEA teapot auction to celebrate our favourite annual fundraiser, the Big Smile Tea Party – where nine of the UK’s biggest household celebrity names signed and donated their favourite teapots to raise money for Smile Train – including the likes of Dame Joanna Lumley, Sir Rod Stewart & Penny Lancaster, and Alison Hammond.
- Hosting our inaugural Summer Reception at the iconic and newly reopened National Portrait Gallery for some of our closest friends and supporters. The evening celebrated the smiles our supporters have helped us create, as well as offered attendees a private view of the unprecedented exhibition that reveals to the public for the first time, extraordinary photographers taken by Paul McCartney: 1963-64 Eyes of the Storm.
- Supporting the Smile Train Global World Record Attempt for the largest online photo album of smiling mouths. We’re now officially GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ holders!
- Launching our biggest-ever campaign, Beauty in Every Smile, in honour of this year’s World Smile Day. We worked with the incredible Fanny Beckman to photograph 12 cleft-affected individuals, sharing their beautiful photos alongside their personal cleft stories in an outdoor exhibition on London’s South Bank. The campaign is all about encouraging smile inclusivity and celebrating the Beauty in Every Smile. And our lovely photo subjects are now Smile Train UK’s newest community ambassadors!
- Welcoming our newest celebrity Ambassador into the Smile Train UK family, Heather Small, who gave us a very special performance at this year’s Big Smile Carol Concert.
With 2024 marking our 25th Anniversary, we’re in for an exciting year ahead! A big thank you to all our incredible supporters who really are making such a huge difference to helping us change the world, one smile at a time.