From brickie to ballerina

AFTER a hard day mixing cement and humping heavy bricks about, budding builder Jessie O'Reilly likes to do something a bit more refined.While her colleagues head for the nearest pub, she swaps her overalls for a tutu - and rather than a pint, likes to pirouette and pas de bourree for her relaxation.

AFTER a hard day mixing cement and humping heavy bricks about, budding builder Jessie O'Reilly likes to do something a bit more refined.

While her colleagues head for the nearest pub, she swaps her overalls for a tutu - and rather than a pint, likes to pirouette and pas de bourree for her relaxation.

For the teenager is not the usual stereotype associated with people who work in the construction industry, but a builder by day and a ballerina by night.

Jessie, 16, a building student at Otley College, started ballet lessons a year ago when her sister, a keen dancer, fell ill and she went along to give her some support.


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Sandra Hartley, her teacher at Saxtead School of Dance, soon saw her potential - and the talented teenager managed to gain a county council scholarship and has progressed so much in 12 months she has just taken her Grade 6 exam.

Jessie is currently studying on a one-year multi-skills construction course, and hopes to become a property developer - unless the chance to dance full time comes up.

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“I would love to be a professional dancer or even one day end up teaching ballet,” said Jessie, a former Thomas Mills High School student who lives with her family near Framlingham.

“However, I know that the competition is extremely fierce and irrespective of how well I do, I still want to use the skills that I am currently learning at Otley College to go on and become a developer of property at some stage in my life.

“My initial ambition is to appear in a ballet production some time soon and although it is hard work juggling ballet with building, I wouldn't change a thing.”

Her tutor at Otley, Simon Lacquiere said: “Jessie is a model student and although most people wouldn't put building and ballet together, I think it is great.”

Do you have a job and a hobby which contrast? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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