Home About us Dr Judith Kingston James Partridge

The Venik Trust  (Registered Charity Number 1063185)
In memoriam Dr. Judith Kingston; Dr. James Partridge.

James Partridge R.I.P.

It was with very great sadness that we read the news of his death on 16th August 2020.

James was truly a giant among men:

He was the warmest human being imaginable: fun and charismatic to be with, and with endless empathy for those facing misfortune.

We first met him in 1996 as founder of Changing Faces when he agreed to join the Venik ‘co-operative’, a collection of hospitals, charities and social workers combining to partner Russian hospitals and charities and address the problems of disfigurement in Russia.

James made visits to St Petersburg in 1997 and 1998 and hosted a return visit to Changing Faces by Russian surgeons, psychologists and social workers. He gave of his time as generously as he gave of his intellect to advance our joint project.

James with children in St Petersburg 1997.

and inspiring Russian adults too

James hosts the return visit by Russian doctors to Bristol 1998

Set our below are the introductory remarks of a speech he made in 2000. They demonstrate his passion and clear-sighted vision. His achievements with Changing Faces and latterly with Face Equality International will be his lasting testament.
We will miss him enormously but we will remember what he stood for which will inspire us in our future work.
We love you James.
James Partridge OBE, DSc (Hon), FRCSEd (Hon). 30th October 1952 – 16th August 2020

Disfigurement in the 21st Century
How Changing Faces will be tackling disfigurement in the 21st Century

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are sometimes asked, by journalists for example, to provide photos of people with disfigurements for a piece of media coverage – which we always find tricky partly because of confidentiality issues and what happens to these images once they become public property. But the main reason is that it is very difficult to capture the humanity of someone in a static, face-on mug-shot – the child or adult becomes an exhibit, not the laughing, animated, sociable person we know them to be. When you look at the best portraits, on the other hand (and there are many here tonight), they capture the vitality of the sitter/ stander brilliantly.

I want to use this analogy to describe how I see our work in disfigurement in the coming century: I want us to bring this sense of 3-dimensional vibrancy to the subject of disfigurement in place of the one-dimensional view of it that I think currently prevails and has prevailed during the last century.

What we are saying that anyone whose face is marked or scarred or different is and can be a vibrant, buzzing personality whose unique facial features are an integral part of them just as much as anyone else’s face is (but no more than that). We want a society which respects and understands disfigurement and has grown beyond judging people on their looks, that sees no reason for them to be looked at oddly or treated unfairly. And we want a health care system which empowers people to adjust to their different looks so that they can manage the sometimes bizarre, sometimes uncomfortable reactions of other people and stand up to the barrage of propaganda that asserts that looks are all that count… Disfigurement does pose problems but they are do-able, not insuperable…

As I look at what Changing Faces is today, I am proud of what we have already achieved in the last 8 years but realistic about how much more we have to do… I think the individual and families who come into contact with us feel that Changing Faces is a microcosm of this future society I have in mind – everyone is welcomed as vital human beings full of talents and energy, every health professional or teacher is encouraged to see disfigurement not as a disaster but as a challenge which they can help their patients overcome, and every media contact and member of the public is challenged (as our new logo says) “to change the way you face disfigurement”.

I hope that all of you here tonight have felt that vibrant charge from seeing the light – of seeing disfigurement in a grown-up way… I am absolutely certain that a lot more people out there want to have this new assurance too – to move beyond the idea that disfigurement is dreadful or words to that effect… Gavin Campbell, the journalist, said that Changing Faces was making it possible to talk about disfigurement, and to talk about it in an informed way… That is what we want to hear more…

To download this tribute https://www.amazon.co.uk/clouddrive/share/ONDm5jPnZ5vlGZuSCNJRsENhjFjqguSOHl5Ybqtq67i