The Prestonian Lecture for 2014

1814 Consolidation and Change
- the first year of the United Grand Lodge of England

W.Bro Dr Mike Kearsley ProvGOrat (Middlesex)




The Charity supported by the 2014 Prestonian Lecture

The charity I have chosen to be supported from the proceeds of the 2014 Prestonian Lecture is DEBRA – the charity for people whose skin doesn’t work.

DEBRA is the national charity working on behalf of people in the UK and worldwide with the genetic skin blistering condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).  This is a group of genetic disorders that result in fragility of the skin and, in some cases, other internal membranes and organs. Blisters, open wounds and sores form as a result of the slightest touch, rub or trauma.  Certain types of EB can be fatal in infancy and others are severely life-limiting. We estimate that there more than 5,000 people with EB in the UK, and 500,000 worldwide.  EB may be inherited in either a dominant (usually one parent carries the gene for EB and is affected by the condition themselves) or a recessive form (where both parents carry the gene but are usually unaffected, so the birth of an affected child is totally unexpected).  EB can also arise through a new spontaneous mutation whereby neither parent carries EB yet the gene mutates spontaneously.

There is currently no known cure for EB.

DEBRA UK is one of the largest providers of EB research funds of all of the national DEBRAs around the world and also manages a centralised research grant assessment process on behalf of all of the member groups of DEBRA International. This enables funding to be concentrated and coordinated, avoiding unnecessary duplication. A great deal of progress has been made over recent years in understanding the condition.

 DEBRA is a registered charity supported by its Patron, Sophie, Countess of  Wessex  - and by its President Michael Portillo, former MP, broadcaster and lecturer.