Same happy place in a tent by the sea. Wheelchair? No problem

ABOVE: Renee and Coral McAlpin at their camp site at Evans Head.

Susanna Freymark

Coral and Renee McAlpin will be celebrating New Year’s Eve at the same place they have every year.

For 32 years, the mother and daughter have set up camp at Reflections Holiday Park in Evans Head where they spend Christmas and see in the new year.

Coral likes being in a tent rather than a caravan because it means Renee can get around in her wheelchair.

“There isn’t anywhere Renee can’t go,” Coral said.

Renee has been in a wheelchair since she was 13 because of specific form of juvenile arthritis.

Renee, 44, said children think she is a child. The arthritis halted her bone growth and her body is petite.

“The children wonder why I don’t play with them,” Renee said.

Renee is a singer and after their stay at Evans Head, the pair will head off on their annual pilgrimage to Tamworth Music Festival where Renee will perform eight times.

That is after January 8. Until then, they are enjoying the break from Lismore where they live.

They had nothing but praise for Reflections and the way Renee’s needs were accommodated.

Their tent site was close to disabled toilets.

“The staff are really kind,” Coral said.

Renee and Coral McAlpin at the campsite at Reflections. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Renee has made many friends over the years camping at Evans Head.

“When I came here at 13 I had friends here and we hung out together,” she said.

“Now they are coming back with their kids.”

Her friends include her in everything. She goes to the beach with them. She is helped to go swimming and clearly enjoys every moment.

Coral and Renee sit in the shade of their tent as the Christmas lights they put up dangle from the tent line.

They are exactly where they want to be.

Watch the video below of Renee singing with John Stone.

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