Building charity to adapt Torpoint home of former West End star with health problems

Tuesday 10th May 2022 6:00 am
Former West End star Audra Mitcheson-Soley, of Torpoint, with her husband Drew
Former West End star Audra Mitcheson-Soley, of Torpoint, with her husband Drew. The couple are to receive help with adapting their home from volunteers at the charity Band of Builders because Audra now suffers from a number of health conditions affecting her mobility. (Picture: Band of Builders )

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VOLUNTEERS from a national building charity have answered a call for help to make adaptations to the Torpoint home of a former West End child actress and dancer who has worked with the likes of Sam Mendes, Martin Clunes, Lionel Blair and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Audra Mitcheson-Soley’s career spans nearly five decades, but she now suffers from a number of health conditions – including hypermobility, connective tissue disease, arteriosclerosis, bruits and a dilated aorta– which will ultimately see her needing the use of a wheelchair.

Audra and husband Drew – a time-served carpenter – put out a plea for help to Band of Builders (BoB) to install a new bathroom, as she can no longer use a bath, and a warm shower twice a day helps relieve the pain of her symptoms.

A team of up to half a dozen volunteers from BoB – a registered charity that completes practical projects to help members of the UK construction industry who are battling illness or injury – will descend on Audra’s home in Torpoint at the start of the week beginning May 23 to complete the project by the following weekend.

The ever-resilient Audra remains positive and upbeat, even though she has not worked for the past couple of years, as the combination of health conditions is having an increasing impact on her mobility and quality of life with her family, including her six-year-old daughter Azaria.

She says she is very grateful that she is eligible for the help on the project and cannot wait for the much-needed work to be done to help with her pain relief.

“I cannot thank Band of Builders enough for coming to help,” she said. “This is very exciting for us to finally have a bathroom that work properly and being able to have a shower a couple of times a day will really help ease my constant pain and discomfort. It will make my world so much easier.”

Audra has very flexible joints, which as a child meant she was a supple dancer and actress. Her professional career started at the tender age of five years old, and by 11 years old she was headlining the first child stage production of Bugsy Malone at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. Audra continued to work in the West End and on various UK tours. Most recently, she did the voiceover for the Ukraine Helpers charity film short.

As a teacher, she has taught musical theatre performance workshops for students from all over Europe; drama therapy workshops for Seale-Hayne; street dance workshops in local and Devon schools; and most recently drama and dance workshops for UK, European and international Latin and ballroom championship dancers, in-between teaching drama for over 15 years.

The Band of Builders Project Lead, Kevin Choat - a Cambridgeshire-based tradesperson who specialises in accessible bathrooms – said he is working with Audra to finalise the project specification that will meet her needs.

“I’m proud to be leading a Band of Builders team that will be volunteering time to create an accessible bathroom that will meet Audra’s immediate and future needs,” said Kevin. “It’s so important that the construction community looks after one another and I know all the volunteers on this project see it as a privilege to be able to do something that will make Audra’s life better.”

This will be the 25th project to date for BoB, which has more than 10,000 supporters from across the construction industry and is backed by major names within the industry, including DEWALT,JewsonGibbs & DandyV12 FootwearTalaseyResideo and Haemmerlin.

For more information or to offer support of any kind, please email [email protected]

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