Vinnie's yellow supporter quits Wiggles

Citing illness, Greg Page, known to worldwide audiences as the Yellow Wiggle, has left the popular children's band whose members are long-time supporters of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

The Herald-Sun reports that a chronic condition called orthostatic intolerance, which is caused by low blood pressure and leaves sufferers feeling dizzy, short of breath and nauseated when they stand up, has called Page, 34, to leave the group.

"It's not a life-threatening condition by any means, but it is one that's going to be with me for the rest of my life," Page said.

"It means I'll no longer be able to sing and dance the way I want to and as a result I've decided to stop performing with the Wiggles."

Page said the yellow skivvy would now be worn permanently by long-time understudy Sam Moran.

"This emotional decision was one which was very difficult, as I have dedicated almost half my life to the Wiggles and, with a question mark over my health, I feel this is the right decision," Page said.

"I'll miss being a part of the Wiggles very much, but this is the right decision because it will allow me to focus on managing my health."

Page, a founding member of the children's favourites, announced his departure in a pre-recorded video statement on the eve of their Australian tour, which kicked off in Perth yesterday.

News of Page's departure ends months of speculation about his "mystery illness".

University of Melbourne senior lecturer in cardiologist Dr John Amerena said the condition was rare, particularly in people as young as Page.

"Only 40 to 50 people in Australia per year might be diagnosed," Dr Amerena said. "It's very unusual because it's usually a condition diagnosed in elderly people."

There is no cure for orthostatic intolerance, also known as orthostatic hypotension but Dr Amerena said patients could take medication to control symptoms or wear compression stockings to assist blood flow.

Greg Page, who was the tallest band member at 194 cm, lives in Sydney with his wife, Michelle, and their two children, Blaine and Madison, Playfuls.com adds.

The Wiggles were awarded the Australian Catholic University's highest honour, Doctor of the University (honoris causa), at the university's graduation ceremony in April.

The honour was bestowed in recognition of "their outstanding contribution to early-years education and child development through the arts". Red Wiggle, Murray Cook, presented the occasional address at the ceremony.

The band has for several years supported the St Vincent de Paul Society shops and appeals. This year's campaign was aimed at encouraging people to volunteer for the Vinnies.

Originally a five-piece group, with Philip Wilcher being the original fifth Wiggle, the Wiggles began their career playing at pre-schools and childcare centres.

Each of the members has a recurring schtick, or bit. Greg performed magic tricks, Anthony is always hungry and eats, Murray is obsessed with playing his guitar, and Jeff falls asleep at any given moment, resembling narcolepsy.

The Wiggles Lose Their Ill Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page (Playfuls.com, 30/11/06)
Wiggles' yellow skivvy passed on (Herald-Sun, 1/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The Wiggles Official Website
The Wiggles (Wikipedia)
St Vincent de Paul Society
ACU National

Wiggles urge followers to 'bring Good Stuff to Vinnies' (CathNews 6/9/06)
ACU degree for Wiggles (CathNews, 10/4/06)
US Catholic author praises Wiggles' Jesus songs (CathNews 14/12/04)
Wiggles promote "bright colours" of Vinnies shops (CathNews 31/8/04)
Blue Wiggle's wedding 'a family affair' (Catholic Weekly 18/5/03)
Wiggles endorse Vinnies Christmas Appeal (CathNews 22/10/03)

1 Dec 2006