‘Bionic’ Andy eyes a new career in TV

TV AIM ... ex-soldier Andy Garthwaite with his bionic arm.

TV AIM ... ex-soldier Andy Garthwaite with his bionic arm.

A NEW career in TV could beckon in 2014 for a pioneering former soldier from South Tyneside.

Andrew Garthwaite became the first person in the UK – and one of only a handful people in the world – to be fitted with a bionic arm, controlled by brain power.

The 26-year-old, originally from Jarrow and now living in South Shields, suffered horrific injuries when he took a direct hit from a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade while serving with The Queen’s Royal Lancers in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in September 2010.

He was later fitted with a special prosthetic, after surgeons at the Medical University of Vienna took nerve endings from his shoulder and rewired them into his chest muscles.

This followed a six-hour operation in Austria early last year, in a procedure called targeted muscle reinnervation. Now the former soldier is learning how to use the prosthetic, controlling his state-of-the-art limb with nerve impulses generated in his brain.

After being medically discharged from the Army just after Christmas, the ex-serviceman is now looking at employment opportunities on ‘Civvy Street’, including a possible career in television.

He said: “Since having my prosthetic arm, I have had numerous TV experiences and I love it.

“In a strange way, it has similarities to the Army: it is quick-paced, things change all the time and you never know what is going to happen that day.

“You also have to work under pressure, and that is what I’m used to.”

The former soldier, who has spoken to people in the TV industry, added: “I’m looking forward to 2014.”

Twitter @shieldsgazette


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