AN undertaker by day and panto star by night has told how his life was transformed by a second kidney transplant.
Matthew Tempest, 38, who has been involved in pantos for 14 years, fell ill as a baby with a disease called haemolytic-uraemic syndrome. which damage his kidneys.
Mr Tempest, who has worked in the funeral business for 20 years, underwent his first kidney transplant aged 18, which failed in 2016.
He had to go on kidney dialysis for 12 months until he had a second kidney transplant last April.
Now he is set to play Wishee Washee in Leeds Insurance Dramatical and Operatical Society’s production of Aladdin.
It will be staged at the Carriageworks theatre in Millennium Square in Leeds from Friday January 12 to Saturday 20.
Mr Tempest, of Lower Wortley, said he was too sick and exhausted to appear in panto last January while on dialysis and is looking forward to this year’s production.
Mr Tempest, whose family run Robson and Ellis Funeral Service, John P Tempest and Percy R Wood Funeral Services, said some mourners have done a double take after recognising him from pantos while he has been working at funerals.
He said: “Having the transplant transformed my life. I have gone from feeling constantly sick and exhausted to feeling healthy.
“If I hadn’t had the transplant I wouldn’t be able to continue working and I certainly wouldn’t be able to appear in pantomime.”
For tickets for Aladdin, call the Carriageworks Theatre’s box office on 0113 3760318.
– It is quick and easy to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Simply visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call the NHS Blood and Transplant 24-hour-a-day donor line on 0300 123 23 23.
NHS Blood and Transplant are urging potential donors to speak to family members about their wishes after revealing many families are often unsure and decide it is safer to say no.
It means around 460 lifesaving organ transplants are missed each year.
Anyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register, age and medical conditions are not necessarily a barrier to donation.