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Date Posted... Jun 28th 2021

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Bex Yearworth CO08

Swopping a successful London theatre career to work with amputees and the NHS Covid crisis.

Bex on one of her first shifts on Cardio Thoracic Critical Care Unit (CTCCU)

After spending many Wednesday afternoons and weekends in the Burrell Theatre, Bex Yearworth decided to apply for the National Youth Theatre (NYT). 

“I had a wonderful, varied experience at Truro School that set me up to have an equally varied and exciting career. I fondly recall a trip to Russia in 2007 whilst in Lower Sixth accompanied by Mrs Rainbow (TS 1990-2018), Mr SymesMiss Aaron, and Mr Baker (TS 1978-2010). It included the fun experience of the sleeper train (although little sleep was had by any of us). I also fell down the steps at Lenin’s Mausoleum and got told off by a guard (my excuse was that it was very dark!) and the Hermitage Museum was amazing as well as all the architecture. The experience was more enjoyable because I was with classmates, most of whom I had been at school with since 1st year and at Truro School Prep beforehand. 

However, my real passion was the Drama department (which undoubtedly led to many an adventure in my formative years). The encouragement I received from the drama teaching team certainly made me feel like I could aim for the very top when I began to apply to drama schools, and this gave me a wonderful start in life.  

On a more practical note, I was prepared well for the likes of job interviews etc which has been an incredibly helpful life skill! 

Bex loved spending time with the theatre team, particularly Ben Shipway CO10, Tamsin Linehan-McCaldin CO07, John Badcock CO05 and Toby Middleton (Burrell Theatre Technician 2003 – 2011) who Bex felt she learnt a lot from.  

“There were lots of others on the tech team too throughout the years, some of whom have gone onto similar paths in theatre and entertainment. It was a wonderful team to be part of and I always felt so lucky to have all the equipment etc, which made it possible to put on such high-quality theatre productions”. 

When entering Sixth Form, Bex momentarily considered studying environmental science. However, her experience over the previous three summers in London with NYT inspired her to apply to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) instead. She was successful and enrolled in September 2008 after completing her A-level studies. 

After leaving RADA, Bex worked as a prop maker, set builder and project manager for five years, mostly working on a freelance basis dotting around workshops across London and sometimes further afield. During that time, Bex worked on the London 2012 Olympic ceremonies, various West End shows and on several Secret Cinema events.  

“My specialty was using fibreglass to create objects as well as mould making and some scenic work. I worked on a few very strange jobs including making the world’s largest ploughman’s lunch (all edible!) and making 30 life-size orangutans”. 

In 2014 Bex was diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and after a few years of ill health, Bex revaluated her priorities.  

I could no longer keep up with the long hours and weekends and wanted something more 9-5 with a set schedule. I had also spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals and meeting Physiotherapists etc and I became really interested in rehabilitation. After a little research I realised becoming a Prosthetics Technician would allow me to combine my creativity and making skills with my newfound rehabilitation interests”. 

So, Bex moved to work in Manchester where she became the Workshop Manager at the Specialised Ability Centre (SAC) in Manchester; an amputee rehabilitations facility covering the whole of Greater Manchester. Her role in the prosthetics workshop included overseeing 10 technicians responsible for manufacturing prosthetic limbs as well as completing repairs and adjustments. She is also a fully trained Prosthetic Technician. 

“It was a tough decision to leave a successful career in theatre, based in London, and move to work with amputees. Assisting those who have suffered life changing injuries, helping them to walk again, is incredibly rewarding work and something that I am very proud of. 

For those considering a career in healthcare I would encourage them to look at all the Allied Healthcare roles, many are overlooked, including the opportunity to complete apprenticeships or degree apprenticeships”.  

With the advent of the pandemic Bex found herself presented with another opportunity – she was able to use her skills to make a difference in the crisis.     

“Last year the SAC was closed for three months, and I took a voluntary redeployment within the NHS as a healthcare assistant on the Cardiac Critical Care Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital. I primarily assisted patients suffering from COVID-19, requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO- a machine which acts as an artificial lung and assists oxygenation of the blood). 

Although it was a tough assignment, it was also a transformative experience for me, and I decided quite soon after that I wanted to spend time with my family and move back to Cornwall. Fortunately, I had the support of my company who offered me a remote position as a Quality Engineer. So, now I write technical documents to ensure all our manufacturing procedures are compliant with medical device regulations and follow internal quality management systems. 

I am loving being back in Cornwall, I have been spending as much time as possible with my family as well as just spending time in the fresh air whenever I get a break from work. I have also started a few new hobbies including sea swimming but only when the weather is good!” 

Bex not only makes a difference to lives in the UK but also abroad as she is a trustee for the charity Legs4Africa – a charity that recycle prosthetic legs that would otherwise end up in landfill and facilitate support groups so amputees in sub-Saharan Arica can live more independent, fulfilled lives. Bex frequently volunteers her time which included a trip to The Gambia in 2018 to provide support and training to the amputee rehabilitation clinic.  

“My focus in the coming year is to develop my skills as a trustee. My contribution to the board of Legs4Africa is largely my knowledge of the prosthetics industry but I’d like to learn more about the day to day running of an international charity”. 

In her spare time (if there is any left!) Bex can be found exploring unfamiliar places as well as spending time with family now they are all based in Marazion and Bex is currently helping her parents design their new home which will be in the Penzance area. 

“I am also hoping to visit my sister Alice Wilkinson CO05, once restrictions have lifted. She lives near Portsmouth with her husband David, and we have not seen each other in over a year. Hopefully, we will be able to have a big family get together soon!” 

Bex in Kyoto Japan

Bex in Gambia helping Leg4Africa

Bex working on a socket

Bex and the Truro School Tech Team in 2008

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