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A life-changing accident didn’t stop Taranaki family from being happy campers – Stuff.co.nz

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The Madderns have camped at Urenui for 30 years, even after a life-changing accident could have stopped them. Pictured: Graham Maddern with grandson Bentley and son Leon.

SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF

The Madderns have camped at Urenui for 30 years, even after a life-changing accident could have stopped them. Pictured: Graham Maddern with grandson Bentley and son Leon.

A 30-year camping love affair didn’t stop for a Taranaki family after a life-changing accident.

Every year Graham and Rose Maddern and family have camped at the same spot in the Urenui Beach Camp, north of New Plymouth, from Boxing Day to early January. 

Although the camping streak ended one year after Rose had a serious motorbike accident nine years ago, which left her wheelchair-bound. 

Not letting the life-changing accident stop them, the couple returned for the next few years, but came to the conclusion that trying to camp in a tent was becoming too difficult. 

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“It was a bit of a mission,” Graham said of trying to help his wife to the toilet block in the night. 

They have now upgraded to a large campervan with a bathroom built in.. 

The camping trip spanned generations, with 18-month-old grandson Bentley enjoying the experience by riding his push bike down the wheelchair ramp of the campervan.

“Now we’re bringing out the grandkids,” Graham said as Bentley rode down the ramp one last time. 

Graham and Rose own a farmlet in Brixton, only 16kms away from the camp ground, which means they pop back home every few days to check on the stock, something that makes the camp ground a paradise close to home for the family. 

“I always reckon that you don’t have to go far, as long as you’re not at home,” he said. 

The atmosphere at the camp ground was relaxed and family-friendly and being able to play golf on the course next door was a bonus, he added.

Before the family leave each year they book the same spot for the following summer and start looking forward to their next camping holiday.

“We book from one year to the next. We like this spot.”

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