At the age of 23 became a tetraplegic after diving into a swimming pool and breaking my neck and leaving me paralysed. At that point in my life I was serving in the New Zealand Army and continued to serve a further two years until I was medically discharged.
After my accident, I taught Life Skills to Adult Students for a year and then 12 years teaching NZQA Computer skills courses and night school. I also volunteer as part of the Peer Support Programme run by NZ Spinal Trust at the Burwood Spinal Unit.
It was at the Burwood Spinal Unit that I met Kevin Griffiths; MFPA Associate Member who told me about the Mouth and Foot Painting Association. He gave me an insight into how mouth painting had changed his life, opened up his potential and given him opportunities that enhanced his life. I was moved by what he said to me and decided to have a go.
The opportunity to open up my creative side through mouth painting has enhanced my life greatly and although I was very much an unskilled artist, I now feel confident in expressing myself and my ideas through my art.
Along with my passion for painting, I also have a passion for Powerchair Football. This is an adaptive version of Football (Soccer) using a specialised “Strikeforce” Powerchair. I play for both Canterbury who are NZ National Champions as well as the New Zealand National Team known as the NZ Silver Strikers.
Growing up I had a large supportive family with two brothers and four sisters and life was a lot of fun. My main source of enjoyment came from everything sporting.
I am married to my wife Debz and between us we have 3 boys and 3 girls and eleven grandchildren. Our big blended family brings its own excitement to our lives’ and our beautiful grandchildren take centre stage.
My goals for the future are to continue developing as an artist in MFPA and to play in the next FIPFA World Cup.