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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 06:54 GMT
Attack on cosmetic op 'obsession'
Simon Weston and James Partridge
Simon Weston is a patron of the charity founded by James Partridge
The "constant search for perfection" through the rise in cosmetic surgery is becoming an obsession, according to Falklands war veteran Simon Weston.

The ex-Welsh Guardsman, who received serious burns to his hands and face in the war, said seeking youth and beauty on the operating table was "daft".

He is patron of charity Changing Faces, which helps people with disfigurements, and has a new branch in Wales.

In the UK last year the number of cosmetic surgery operations rose 34%.

There are so many people out there who have small defects on their face or body and use surgery as an option
Simon Weston

Changing Faces estimates that more than 20,000 people in Wales are disfigured in a way which they find distressing and affects the quality of their life.

There are an estimated 400,000 such people across the UK.

Mr Weston, 44, who was left badly scarred by the Argentine attack on the troop ship Sir Galahad, said it took him the best part of five years to come to terms with his disfigurement.

But he said he feared too many others in a similar situation were "hiding away from society".

Joan Rivers
My face has been tucked in more times than a bed sheet at the Holiday Inn
Joan Rivers joking about her cosmetic surgery
He said: "If people don't like the way I look, that's their problem. I'm the one who's got to live in my skin, not them."

He backed the charity's view that the degree of disfigurement a person has was not a measure of how much it affected the quality of their life.

'Search for perfection'

He said: "There are so many people out there who have small defects on their face or body and use surgery as an option.

"They are not living happily. People are always on a constant search for perfection.

"It's becoming an obsession. I think people who try and stay young and beautiful [through surgery] are a bit daft."

He described the look of American comedian Joan Rivers, an advocate of cosmetic surgery, as "perhaps a nip-and-tuck too far".

Miss Rivers has spoken about the benefits of Botox, but has also joked: "My face has been tucked in more times than a bed sheet at the Holiday Inn".

Changing Faces was founded by James Partridge, 53, who suffered severe burns to his face and hands in a road crash near Usk, south Wales, in 1970 while on holiday with friends.

Mr Partridge said: "When you have a disfigurement, you have to manage the reaction of other people, and you have to do it every single day."

Changing Faces Cymru offers a bilingual English and Welsh service from its offices in Cardiff.


SEE ALSO:
Weston opens charity centre
13 Dec 04 |  North East Wales
Campaign to beat prejudice
11 Jun 03 |  Norfolk


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