"Raise the Spirits" guest speaker, quadriplegic farmer and life achiever Sam Bailey with wife Jenny.

Sam to raise spirits

IN a quest to raise spirits in the community that suffered in early year natural disasters, the Warwick Chaplaincy in conjunction with the Warwick West State School, have embarked on the “Raise the Spirit” initiative to be held at the Warwick West State School on May 19 from 6pm.

Guest speaker will be a man who has overcome many challenges thrown at him in life, a public speaker of note who shines brightly among the public speaking fraternity.

Sam Bailey, a farmer, pilot, husband and bestselling author, is that man, and his successes have all been achieved with him confined to a wheelchair. Sam Bailey has an incredible ability to take an audience on the journey of his life, a life that will raise the spirit of all in the audience.

The former schoolboy sporting hero and outback jackaroo that became a quadriplegic after a road accident will set his audience on a rollercoaster ride that promises to make people laugh, cry, appreciate what they've got and realise that nothing is impossible.

Sam tells his story in his own down-to-earth laconic style that captures the great Australian spirit of ‘having a go' and he's changing the lives of people of all ages, from all walks of life, from adults to primary schoolchildren.

Sam's talk chronicles his life, from a childhood growing up wanting to be a farmer just like his dad, through to the day his life changed forever.

However, Sam's story is not one of sadness, rather of triumph, and you can hear how he turned tragedy into hope, beating the odds to fulfill his life-long dreams.

Despite being paralysed with only limited use of his hands and arms, and an intolerance to heat and cold, he went home to the family farm against expert medical advice.

He learnt to ride a four-wheel motor bike, devised a hoist to access farm machinery and converted tractors, the harvester, front-end loader and dozer so he could drive them. His achievements reached a pinnacle when he learnt to fly an ultra-light aircraft.

But Sam's story is much more than that; it's also a story of love and romance that will send your spirits soaring.

Sam found his soulmate in former Tamworth-based ABC radio rural reporter, Jenny Black – who he proposed to “live” on regional radio. Their story appeared on ABC TV's “Australian Story” in 2000 with an overwhelming response and then in April 2006 hit the bookshelves in their book “Head Over Heels – A story of tragedy, triumph and romance in the Australian Bush”.

Within weeks it was on ABC Books' bestsellers list, and has now been reprinted nine times.

Today Sam & Jenny live and work together on Sam's family property in northern NSW, in between travelling the country telling their story and giving inspiration to others.

Now they are also working towards their next big goal, for Sam to become the first quadriplegic in the world to fly a helicopter.

They plan to write a second book.

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