Legs4Africa volunteer ‘honoured’ to be recognised in prestigious national exhibit

Bex Yearworth at the National Science Museum

A female technician who has been instrumental in transforming the lives of amputees in Africa has been selected as a role model for a national exhibition, which aims to inspire more young people to pursue careers in prosthetics.

The Technician Gallery is a free interactive display at the National Science Museum in London, designed specifically for 11 to 16-year-olds, to celebrate and highlight the essential contributions of technicians.

Bex Yearworth, a trustee at the Bristol-based charity Legs4Africa, has been featured in the new permanent exhibition as one of the technicians who have made a significant impact in their field. As a prosthetic technician, Yearworth has played a vital role in enabling the recycling of UK prosthetics, which has helped thousands of people with limb loss in sub-Saharan Africa. When she started her career in 2015, Yearworth was one of the few female technicians in her field, and her expertise was instrumental in finding ways to dismantle UK prosthetics to prevent them from ending up in landfills and instead repurpose them to benefit amputees in Africa.

Initially, Legs4Africa, the charity that has facilitated the ability of more than 14,000 amputees to walk again, used to ship entire prosthetics to the Gambia. However, with Yearworth’s support, the charity developed a process whereby the prosthetics could be dismantled in the UK before being transported to prosthetic centres in Africa. Bex delivered training to enable the charity to provide support to local centres, which led to the creation of new prosthetic limbs and increased access to prosthetics for individuals living in Africa.

Bex Yearworth in the Gambia

Talking about the new exhibition, Bex said it was an honour to be chosen and to highlight the work of technicians in helping those suffering with limb loss.

She said, “There is a massive skills shortage in the industry so to be able to shine the spotlight on prosthetics and break down some stereotypes that still exist I hope we will be able to encourage more young people to see it as a future career opportunity.

“I’ve been very lucky to be supported throughout my career by my employers who have recognised the passion I have for volunteering with Legs4Africa. The work the charity does is changing the lives of individuals suffering with limb loss around the world.

“The exhibition is a real honour and such an amazing opportunity to inspire young people.”

The aim of the exhibit is to generate excitement among young people about technician roles, which cover everything from operating manufacturing robots to creating visual effects for films, fixing wind turbine faults and creating prosthetics.

Tom Williams OBE, CEO of Legs4Africa, said the charity was lucky to have such a specialist team of experts who helped the charity with its life-saving work.

He said: “Without the support of technicians like Bex who have helped to make the recycling of prosthetics possible the charity would not have been able to make such a difference. Her experience was invaluable in starting the dismantling program and training the centres across Africa.

“It is great to see her work recognised. She is a real inspiration, and we are lucky to have her as part of our team.”

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