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You don’t need wings to fly in St Arnaud, Maryborough

Your life can change in a split second but it’s how you tackle things from that point on that’s important, according to beef cattle producer, motivational speaker and quadriplegic Sam Bailey.

Mr Bailey will speak at two special Look Over the Farm Gate evenings in St Arnaud and Maryborough later this month, when he will tell his powerful story of how he “just got on with things” after an accident left him a quadriplegic at 19. He originally planned to speak in central Victoria in July but had to reschedule due to illness.

Organised by Agriculture Victoria, the two sessions are supported by Northern Grampians and Central Goldfields Shire Councils and the Country Fire Authority, and funded through the Victorian Government’s Drought Response Program. Mr Bailey will also speak at local schools in both districts.

“I just tell my story about having a dream and finding my life changed in a split second,” Mr Bailey said.

“I certainly wasn’t going to let a spinal cord injury get in the way of my life-long dream so I rolled up my sleeves and set about rebuilding. I converted all the farm machinery so I could use it, and I learnt to fly an ultralight plane. My next goal is to become the first quadriplegic to fly a helicopter.”

You don’t need wings to fly is the fitting title of Mr Bailey’s talk, which he gives to adults and school children across Australia with his wife Jenny, with whom he wrote their best-selling book, Head over Heels.

“I had a plan and unfortunately life crash-tackled me. It’s a fact that we are all going to get crack-tackled at some stage but the sun goes down and comes up the next day and you’ve just got to get on with it,” he said.

“After my accident I gradually pieced my life back together and now Jenny and I lead this incredible life. We started telling our story 14 years ago and now we get a phone call and all of a sudden we’re heading off in a direction we never thought we’d go.”

The Baileys were in central Victoria 10 years ago and Mr Bailey said they were thrilled to be invited back to speak to people on the land who might be doing it tough due to seasonal conditions.

“I just try to inject some of that resilience, toughness, and “have a go” attitude, and hope people gain a sense of appreciation for what they have. My simple message is, you can do anything if you want to.”

Agriculture Victoria session organiser Belinda Pritchard said it was fantastic to have the Baileys come to central Victoria for the two sessions.

“All the organisations involved are really excited to host the Baileys, and we are inviting anyone interested to come along and hear their story,” she said.

The two sessions will be relaxed evenings with family and friends and a two-course meal included in the $15 ticket price.

Session details

  • St Arnaud – Tuesday 23 August from 6-9pm at the St Arnaud Sporting Club. Cost: $15 a head including a banquet meal.
  • Maryborough – Wednesday 24 August from 6-9pm at the Maryborough Highland Society. Cost: $15 a head including a two-course meal.

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