Spinal community mourns death of Neroli Fairhall
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New Zealand Spinal community mourns the death of Neroli Fairhall, Archer
The death of Neroli Fairhall last Sunday has been mourned today by the wider Spinal Cord Injured community. Her achievements as an elite sportswoman helped the New Zealand public understand that people who happened to have physical disabilities could compete and win at an open international level. This success gave a tremendous boost to everyone with a disability and encouraged many people to not be held back by what others had seen as major limitations.
“She exemplified the idea that it is not people that are disabled, it is the environments they operate in that disable them” says Andrew Hall, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Spinal Trust. This means that if someone operates in a world with little or no barriers they cease to be disabled and are limited only by their attitudes and beliefs. Neroli did this in a sport where she was at no significant physical disadvantage and she proved to everyone she was the best in the Commonwealth.
Graham Tapper the Burwood Spinal Unit, Programme Coordinator and lifelong friend of Neroli’s says “Neroli was first and foremost a female archer and not a paraplegic so she was defined by her achievements and not by her limitations.”