Officers & Members of the Committee – 2024-25

Les Byrnes


I have been a Lary since August 2012, after being diagnosed with cancer of larynx in 1984.

Following several treatments such as radiation therapy, many biopsies and laser surgery, the larynx was eventually removed in 2012. As President of LANSW Inc, I enjoy visiting pre and post operation Larys whenever requested by Speech Pathologists at the various metropolitan hospitals. Born in 1938 and still enjoying a normal lifestyle.

Peter Tierney

Vice President

Happily, retired, with interests in gardening and genealogy. In my working years, I enjoyed 30 years at Grace Bros/MYER in retail administration management. I’ve been a lary since 2009.

Nigel Balm

Secretary | Treasurer | Public Officer

A technophile, traveller and photographer. I started my career in Medical Pathology, but had a change of heart and spent the majority of my working life in the travel and tourism industry. I spent over 15 years escorting tour groups through the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific and later migrated to marketing. Becoming a lary (2016) was by far my greatest challenge, but I survived and have grown stronger for it.

Yvonne Byrnes

Welfare Coordinator

I’ve been the LANSW Welfare Officer since 2017 and manage the supply of various items, free or sold, to members of the Association. Whenever requested by Speech Pathologists, I also accompany my husband Les when visiting impending larys, offering advice and assurances to their partners about life after the operation.

Chris Barrett

Speech Aids Coordinator

A laryngectomee since 2004. I can help with advice on repairs and loan of speech aids and the sale of batteries for the Servox electrolarynx. I enjoy gardening and general handy man activities, also overseas travel with partner Thayer.

George Southgate


I live in Glen Innes Northern Tablelands N.S.W., and I am the editor of Still Talking. Now a pensioner, previously in my professional life, I was an executive chef. I love travelling and now in the process of restoring a 1978 Millard caravan. My father was also a traveller, basically a gypsy at heart, more so than me. I have lived in well over 250 (?) houses in my life. Hope you like the Newsletter.

Wally Bak

Hunter Valley Liaison

I became a Laryngectomy in 2008. I’m actively involved with education in Western Sydney and the Newcastle region with pre and post operation patients, connecting via zoom, FaceTime, phone and Telehealth education. I also attend several Universities introducing Speech Pathology students to Laryngectomees and I’m the administrator for the “Strictly Speaking” and “Hunter Valley Laryngectomee support group” Facebook groups. Oh, and I love my fishing!!

James Becroft

Committee Member


Watch Wally Bak’s story