Ely Man Dons Drag For Children In Need

A FORMER Army staff sergeant from Ely caused a sensation when he turned up at Cambridge Regional College in full drag – but it was all for the best possible cause. Ely resident Billy Baxter, who is blind, donned pink false eyelashes and stilettos to transform himself in

A FORMER Army staff sergeant from Ely caused a sensation when he turned up at Cambridge Regional College in full drag – but it was all for the best possible cause.

Ely resident Billy Baxter, who is blind, donned pink false eyelashes and stilettos to transform himself in to Miss Belinda Bat to help raise money for Children in Need during a day of fundraising at the College.

Helping him in the transformation was media make-up student Penny Green, 17, who adorned the burly ex-soldier with gem-encrusted eyebrows and purple eye shadow.

Former Army staff sergeant Billy, 45, who is studying performing arts at the College, is a seasoned entertainer who plays in burlesque and does a stand-up routine - which he describes as scarier than anything he ever encountered in the army.

A self-confessed adrenaline junkie, he lost his sight nine years ago after a rare virus destroyed the optic nerves in both eyes. But he refused to let it conquer him.

"I wanted to use my disability for good," said Billy, who lives in Ely. "I'm part of a blind theatre group and I do burlesque and stand-up, I'm an after-dinner speaker and raise money for charity. I love it."

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It's not all he's done: he's driven a motorbike at over 160 miles an hour, starred on TV's "Top Gear", worked as a stuntman and run marathons - all since becoming blind!

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