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(Former Chair & Honorary Committee Member, Committee Member).

Peter was a research scientist, specializing in the interactions between plants and soils. He retired in 2003 after 40 years at CSIRO Plant industry but continued there as an Honorary Fellow for a further ten years. His hobbies include marmalade making, gardening and walking. In 2013 he became the primary carer for his wife Loreign after her spinal cord injury and had to rapidly upgrade his skills in cooking and other domestic arts.

He has chaired Spinal ACT since its inception and looks forward to working with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, Paraquad, ACT Government authorities and any other organisations or individuals to improve the lives of those residents of the ACT and surrounding regions who have sustained spinal cord injury and enable them to reach their full potential.


Loreign is a retired business woman. She owned The Little Red Engine, a toy and pre-school supply shop in Canberra which she ran for 33 years. She sold the business in 2004 and for the next eight years enjoyed travel and walking trips and visits to overseas-based children and grandchildren. She holds a BA from the ANU in history and Graduate Diploma in art history. At home she led a busy life, pursuing interests in history and art and she was active in the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society and the Woman's International Club. It was in late 2012 that she fell from a bicycle and sustained a spinal cord injury at C4/C5. She was then 72. Now a quadriplegic she mobilises in a power wheelchair, exercises regularly with determination and maintains as active a life as possible.

She is a strong advocate of NeuroMoves, based on her experience attending the gym at Lidcombe during 2015 and 2016 and is delighted to have NeuroMoves in Canberra.


Wattle basket  & Suzette Searle - getting ready for National Wattle Day 2015.JPG


(Committee Member).

Suzette was a researcher at CSIRO Forestry for 17 years, and has been a researcher  in science communication at the ANU over the past 19 years. She is rather passionate about the use and cultural significance of Australian wattles (Acacia species), and as a volunteer, manages the communications for the Wattle Day Association.

In September 2014 her husband John, who had retired from CSIRO Forestry after 28 years, fell from a wattle tree in their front yard injuring his spinal cord (T10/T11). John is now a complete paraplegic. As a result of his rehabilitation at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick Sydney, John has learnt to get around in his manual wheelchair, drive their modified car and taken up archery.

Suzette and John worked with Loreign and Peter Randall, Helen and Eugene Holzapfel toward the first public meeting (30 April 2016) to discuss forming Spinal ACT. Suzette used her communication experience to help with Spinal ACT’s successful bid (made to Minister Simon Corbell) on 26 July 2016) to the ACT Government for a one-off grant to fund the establishment of NeuroMoves in Canberra.  This grant of $300,000 was made available by the current ACT Government on 24 December 2016.

Suzette is keen to help our communication with each other in Spinal ACT through meetings and the internet, and collaboration with other people and organizations who can help people with spinal cord injury in the ACT and region.




(Secretary, Treasurer).

Eugene Holzapfel, I am Secretary of Spinal ACT. I served for 31 years in the RAAF and then a further 10 years in the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, specializing in aircraft engineering. During my career we had several moves to Canberra, and have lived here since 1990. Two of our children live in Canberra, and our son and his family live on the Sunshine coast. My spinal cord injury is classified as "incomplete" allowing for specialized physiotherapy to provide considerable improvement in my strength and independence capabilities. I use a power chair to travel to the Australian National War Memorial where I guide tours and to participate in my other interests around Canberra.   


Helen Holzapfel, I am treasurer of Spinal ACT and I feel passionate about ensuring better information and services for those with spinal cord injury. I am a retired nurse, and have a Certificate in Horticulture. I have eight grandchildren and many interests including gardening, music, church, golf, embroidery and reading. Life changed in 2014 when my husband fell down the stairs, sustaining an incomplete fracture C6/C7 vertebrae. We are delighted that NeuroMoves gym will be opening for Canberra and surrounding regions in November of 2017.




(Committee Member).

Matthew is an ex dry-land wheat farmer from Mildura Vic, before moving to the Canberra region. Growing up on his family farm led into a life in agriculture, having many and varied jobs including wheat, sheep, cattle, wine grape, citrus and contracting industries. 

Being a self employed farmer and agricultural contractor saw a busy outdoor lifestyle, traveling much of rural Australia. In mid 2012 whilst competing in a motorcycling desert race in Mildura, crashed and became a C5/C6 quadriplegic and was then fortunate to undergo pioneering nerve transfer surgery to regain some hand function. Married to wife Kathryn, whom works full time and with an eight year old daughter, he is currently a 'Mr mum'. Getting back to driving was an important goal and getting out on the open road is still one of his great loves. Matt is looking forward to the future of NeuroMoves Canberra.




(Committee Member).

Daniel Savage is a visual artist that has been working professionally both locally and internationally since graduating from the ANU school of Art in 2013. He is interested in the place of disabled people within society and this is often reflected in his work. He is also a passionate advocate for access, inclusion and representation of disabled people in the arts and cultural events. As both an advocate and artist, Daniel has worked closely with festivals, galleries and organizations around Australia advising on and speaking about disability related issues. In his personal life Daniel is actively involved in arts and sports, primarily Wheelchair Rugby, and leads and active social life regularly traveling throughout Australia. Daniel has been a full-time manual wheelchair user since acquiring an incomplete spinal cord injury in 2009 and is keen to use his place on the Spinal ACT board to support and promote issues affecting people with disabilities in the Canberra region, particularly those affecting younger generations.