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Bodybuilding helped nurse recover from severe burns

"I'm more appreciative of my skin and I'm not afraid to show off my scars."

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By Debbie Luxon via SWNS

A nurse left badly burnt after a heater exploded has made a striking transformation and recovery after taking up bodybuilding.

Ashleigh Charlesworth, 29, suffered severe burns to her face, hands and chest and was put on a ventilator in the hospital where she spent weeks being treated.

After leaving the hospital Ashleigh vowed to pursue her dream of becoming a bodybuilder which she says has boosted her confidence as well as her muscles.

Earlier this month she entered her first bodybuilding competition wearing a 'girl on fire' themed bikini to celebrate her miraculous transformation.

"Taking part in the show has definitely given me more confidence in myself and my capabilities," Ashleigh from Sudbury, UK.

(Oskar Boral Photography via SWNS)

"I felt nervous and scared but I am extremely proud of myself.

"My bikini was inspired by the 'girl on fire' vibe and that's why it went from red into orange.

"I wanted to encompass it within the show as it's a part of me."

Ashleigh and her cousin April Charlesworth were celebrating April's 28th birthday when a pub heater exploded in a beer garden in Great Cornard, Suffolk, on April 24, 2021.

Someone had thrown alcohol onto the heater causing a huge fireball.

Both went through intense rehabilitation to treat their facial scarring.

Ashleigh Charlesworth was hospitalized after someone threw alcohol onto the pub heater. (Screenshot via SWNS Daily Motion)

A man has since been charged with two counts of wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent and he is due to appear in court on April 2023.

Ashleigh said she was initially self-conscious of her injuries but returned to the gym five weeks later and is now comfortable with her scars.

She said: "I'm more appreciative of my skin and I'm not afraid to show off my scars.

Ashleigh Charlesworth entered her first bodybuilding competition after she had recovered from the severe burns. (SWNS Daily Motion)

"Now people look at me and I'll be like, 'yeah, I've got a scar, do you want to talk about it?''

She had dreamed of competing before the fire but has now made that dream a reality.

She contacted the bodybuilding organization, Physical Culture Association, before the competition in Hull, UK, this November to let them know about her scars.

She said: "I wanted to make them aware I had burns, so they weren't shocked when they saw me.

"They were so good at reassuring me and calming me down and the make-up artist did such an amazing job.

"I was concerned that other competitors would judge me or look at me funny, but what I realized was that it was my own insecurities.

"The girls that knew about the burns were so reassuring to me and helped me right up until stepping on that stage and I feel privileged to have come away with some new friends in the competing world."

After leaving the hospital Ashleigh vowed to pursue her dream of becoming a bodybuilder. (Oskar Boral Photography via SWNS)

Ashleigh is now unable to work as a nurse due to her hand injuries so works for a healthcare phoneline service instead.

In an Instagram post, Ashleigh wrote: "Getting on that stage was a massive thing for me to do.

"After the fire and everything I’ve been through it was important for me to stick to something and give it 1000% and I did that.

"Did I let it stop me? No. Did I have a cry? Yes. Did I continue? HELL YES! I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve come."

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