Thursday, November 16, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
For long time local, Phil Geddes, navigating the Airlie Beach pathways hasn’t always been an easy task.
A wheelchair user, Phil broached the Airlie Beach Festival of Music last weekend, to get involved with the fantastic scene.
“And the people were awesome. It was quite surprising,” Phil said.
Having moved to the area over 20 years ago, Phil found that general attitudes about his wheelchair were fairly negative.
“People used to say ‘get out of the way’ and weren’t very receptive to me or the wheelchair at all,” he reflected.
“But going into town on the weekend, I was quite surprised. It was awesome. People were very aware and receptive and encouraging. They are conscious of the difficulty and challenges of the wheelchair and were very helpful.
“I had so much anxiety and was so nervous, but looking back, I am just like ‘wow, that was awesome’.”
For Phil, it was very reassuring that the mentality has changed, and that people were eager to help him out and help him experience the music festival.
“But this isn’t about me, it’s about the people out in town. The appreciation and respect for everyone who was considerate and understanding to me, that’s what it’s all about. The respect for the people that are struggling.
“I just want to thank everyone.
“I just wanted to see what I could see from my wheelchair.”
Phil was pleasantly surprised last weekend. Photo: Shutterstock