AN EMMERDALE actress has praised a Wrexham woman for inspiring her portrayal of a burns survivor.

Actress Fiona Wade told This Morning that she had been working closely with the charity Changing Faces for her role as Priya Sharma in one of the soap's most powerful and important storylines.


Fiona Wade talks about her role as Priya Sharma on This Morning.

Fiona Wade talks about her role as Priya Sharma on This Morning.


After suffering life-changing burns in the maze fire and undergoing two skin grafts, Priya has been left struggling with the scars - both physical and emotional.


Actress Fiona Wade with mentor Catrin Pugh. Image: Fiona Wade/Twitter

Actress Fiona Wade with mentor Catrin Pugh. Image: Fiona Wade/Twitter


Fiona told Philip and Holly that it was a subject the soap wanted to get right.

She said the advice from her mentor Catrin Pugh, from Rossett, was both invaluable and inspirational.

Fiona said: "When I got the call from the producers, as an actor when you get a big storyline you think this is something I can get my teeth into. Then afterwards all the anxiety sets in, and all the responsibility you have with something like this because you are portraying real people's lives and situations that people are actually going through. It's heavy.

"I've been working with a wonderful charity called Changing Faces who support anyone with a visible difference. We had lots of initial chats with them, together on Zoom, and they just talked us through everything we needed to know.

"And also working with a wonderful burns survivor Catrin Pugh, who is an incredible person. She's been my mentor through this, so I owe a lot of this to her.

"I asked whether I could have a chat with Catrin, just me and her. It's not a relatable thing, but I could work from an emotional side and try to understand her emotional journey. She is so incredible and open, and was willing to talk me through her process. So I owe it to her and the emmerdale writers who have been so incredible at getting this right. It's important.

"One of the things Catrin talked me through was the stages of grief that she went through. At the beginning you're angry, you're whole life has been turned upside down.

"It doesn't just affect you, it affects you and everyone around you who loves you and wants to help you.


Catrin Pugh, Changing Faces.

Catrin Pugh, Changing Faces.


Catrin Pugh, from Rossett, was just 19 when she was involved in a coach crash near Alpe D'Huez in France in 2013.

She had been working at a hotel in the French ski resort when the crash happened.

Catrin suffered 96 per cent burns, with severe damage to her hands and eyesight. Her chance of survival was given as one in a thousand.

Only the soles of her feet and a few patches on her scalp were untouched by the fire.

Catrin, now 27, spent more than eight months in hospital following the crash and was in a coma for three of those.

She was initially treated in hospital in Grenoble before coming back to the UK to receive specialist care and treatment at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside.

Catrin has defied the odds and following more than 200 operations and procedures, she has now gone on to graduate with a first class honours degree in physiotherapy from King's College, London.

Earlier this year, Catrin told the Leader how she wants to use her experiences to help other people.

A former pupil of Darland High School in Rossett, Castell Alun High School in Hope and Coleg Cambria in Wrexham, Catrin said: "Before I had my accident I didn't really know what I wanted to do. When I had the accident I was basically thrust into a world of healthcare. Although everyone around me was impressive, I just resonated with the physios the most. They were the ones that gave me back my ability to move and do all the things I wanted to do. They inspired me.

"I want to help make a difference to others because I know how beneficial that can be. I can use my lived experience when working with people and patients, to hopefully give people their lives back after any kind of injury or illness."

Emmerdale airs on ITV at 7pm on Thursday.