Royal Rehab “Return 2 Sport” event with Lee Ferrier

When the Royal Rehab extended an invitation to the Northern Sydney Men of League Welfare Officers to be part of their Beach & Surf Education Day at Bondi Beach, as part of their Return 2 Sport Program, it was readily accepted.

Enquiries were made with their recent Northern Sydney Committee welfare recipients as to whether or not they would like to be part of the day out at Bondi Beach. Lee Ferrier expressed a willingness to attend and it was a pleasure for Welfare Officers Fred Jackson, Norm Pounder and Ken Vessey to accompany him out to Bondi Beach for a most enjoyable day.

Lee had been involved in a serious motor cycle accident in April 2015, which rendered him a paraplegic. He underwent major surgery and rehabilitation at the Royal North Shore Hospital before further rehab at Royal Rehab, Putney. Lee steadfastly undertook all facets of his rehabilitation, he was discharged and returned home to his partner Rozina and two sons Nikola and Jett after only 6 months. Within a week of being home Lee acquired his drivers license on the first attempt and since then has tried his hand at many activities including swimming, golf and riding his wheelchair (with a small motor attachment) alongside his sons on their bikes, much to their delight.

Prior to his accident Lee was a very keen surfboard rider, only living across the road from a beach and he vowed that he would be back on a board at his first opportunity. So you can imagine his delight and excitement when he was told that surfboard riding was part of the program at Bondi Beach. On our trip from the Northern Beaches area to Bondi Beach we could all see and feel Lee’s excitement at the prospect of having a board ride with the Staff from Royal Rehab. Needless to say that when we arrived at Bondi Beach, Lee took no time in covering a fair distance to the beach area the day was been organised from.

As Fred, Norm and I along with other beachgoers watched Lee and the other wheelchair attendees proceed quickly down to the surf, in no time they were in the water. Lee took to the surfboard like a true professional and with the aid of a few carers was catching waves in no time at all. Lee told us that it was so good to be back on a board to catch a few waves and he even enjoyed being dumped a few times.

The Royal Rehab, especially Kel Smith and his dedicated staff, are to be commended for this marvelous initiative as part of their rehabilitation program but also giving the attendees the opportunity to enjoy a new activity that many people take for granted.

The Northern Sydney Welfare Team plan to be involved in future events/outings under this Return 2 Sport Program.

Ken Vessey

Photo: Lee Ferrier

Photo: Lee Ferrier, Fred Jackson and Sebastian Van Veenendaal

Photo: Lee Ferrier and other participants

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