Murray to Moyne: Rural Northwest Health team member suffers spinal injury

A MEMBER of Rural Northwest Health’s Murray to Moyne team is in the Austin Hospital after suffering a spinal injury in the charity cycle relay.

Team Outpatients secretary Norma Decker said Colin Symes, 62, was flown to Melbourne after coming off his bike at 2.06pm on Saturday, April 5.

“Two riders came off their bikes at the Woomelang turn-off, just outside Lascelles,” she said.

“An ambulance took Colin to Brim and he was airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

"He was later transferred to the Austin Hospital’s spinal unit.”

Mrs Decker said Mr Symes was in good spirits despite the severity of his accident.

“We’ve been to visit him and he is very positive,” she said.

“He has already started rehabilitation but he has a long way to go. 

“We are all hoping he makes a full recovery.”

“He has already started rehabilitation but he has a long way to go. We are all hoping he makes a full recovery.” - Team Outpatients secretary Norma Decker

Mrs Decker said it was lucky the accident happened close to Hopetoun.

“Everyone on the team abandoned the ride and regrouped,” she said.

“We all went the rest of the way to Hamilton by bus and then the riders resumed again the next morning.”

Mrs Decker said it was the first accident in the 18 years Team Outpatients had participated in the 24-hour cycle relay, which raises money for Victorian health services.

“Colin has ridden for the Hopetoun campus team for the past nine years,” she said.

“One of our riders took his bike across the finish line at Port Fairy.

"Colin said that was the least amount of effort he’d put into crossing the finish line.”

Mrs Decker said the end of the ride was bittersweet for Team Outpatients, with team member Les Solly presented with the ride’s most prestigious individual accolade – the Graham Woodrup Memorial Award.

The award is bestowed upon someone who has displayed ‘exceptional effort and inspiration’ to others in the course of their involvement with the Murray to Moyne, in memory of the relay’s co-founder.

“Colin had actually written a letter of support for our nomination of Les, because it was Les who got him riding after all those years,” Mrs Decker said.

“The award is very prestigious and it’s taken a while for it to sink in.

“When we went to visit Colin in the hospital, he wanted to know straight away if we brought the award.”

Mrs Decker said she presented Mr Symes with his Murray to Moyne medal.

“He put it on around his neck collar,” she said.

“It was surreal.”

Mrs Decker said Mr Symes and his wife Donna wanted to thank people for their support.

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