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Bursaries making positive difference for dozens of teenagers from all walks of life

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 05/09/2016

Bethany-Kate Bayliss
Bethany-Kate Bayliss

Bethany-Kate Bayliss is one of dozens of young people to benefit from the Thomas Devlin Fund.

The 18-year-old is originally from Hampshire but lives in Antrim.

She received a bursary in 2013 which has helped her pursue her long-term goal of working in the performing arts industry.

"I applied for the bursary as I wanted to do GCSE music and the school that I went to, because not many people were studying it, decided to scrap it," she said.

"I had to fight to get any sort of results that would allow me to study GCSE music for two years.

"The bursary allowed me to pay for two years of GCSE music. It has really helped a lot.

"I now have my grade four in Trinity piano and grade one in violin."

Since 2013, Bethany Kate has gone on to study performing arts at A-level and has been working with high-profile UK ballet academies.

She recently appeared in a production at the Grand Opera House called Bring It On.

Another recipient is Jamie Phillips (17) from Bangor.

He received a bursary from the fund this summer.

It enabled him to pay for a two-week placement in August at the National Youth Theatre in London to improve knowledge, skills and performance abilities and open up to opportunities as a National Youth Theatre alumni.

Jamie has appeared as an extra in Dracula Untold and in a production at the Lyric Theatre.

He said his experience at the National Youth Theatre was the best two weeks of his life and has really helped towards his ambition of becoming an actor.

With an older sister at uni and a younger brother for his parents to provide for, he was wary of placing any further financial burden on the family.

He said the Thomas Devlin bursary has really made a difference to his hopes for the future.

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