Reece and his off-road wheelchair coastal adventures

Reece and his mum, Michelle, on the rugged coastal path near Wheal Coates, North Cornwall

27-year-old Reece loves visiting different National Trust places, but his cerebral palsy means advance planning is essential. In an interview with the National Trust Magazine, his mum Michelle shares their love of the countryside and how they never let Reece’s disability stop them enjoying everything the Trust has to offer.

Which National Trust places have you and Reece explored together?

My son Reece has cerebral palsy, but we get out and about as a family as much as we can. Reece needs two carers at all times, and he’s been a member with his carers for several years.

My husband Nick and I joined three years ago and we’ve been to lots of places. We recently discovered Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire, which has woodland walks and a beautiful Gothic-looking house.

We love places like Dyrham Park in Gloucestershire and Montacute House in Somerset, which are quite local to us, but we travel far and wide to visit new places too.

Which are your favourite places?

We love the coast, especially in Cornwall. We once managed to get from Godrevy to Hell’s Mouth – about five miles – and we could access the whole path. Rhossili on the Gower coast near Swansea is also special.

Looking across Rhossili Bay, Gower peninsula
Looking across Rhossili Bay, Gower peninsula
Looking across Rhossili Bay, Gower peninsula

The coastal path is so beautiful and we really wanted to get all the way to the end of the cliff. It was such a fantastic moment when we did it – we had a celebratory picnic. That’s what inspired us to get the off-road wheelchair Reece has now, as we couldn’t have done it with his old one. It holds him in a stable position and Nick ‘drives’ with a joystick.

How much planning do your visits take?

We know it’s not going to be possible for us to do everything, everywhere, so we do have to plan things quite carefully.

Good facilities are really important for us and we always have lots of kit. We have to take everything we need for Reece’s food, water and medication, which is all delivered via a tube, plus anything we might need in an emergency, like a puncture repair kit for the chair. We often phone places in advance if we need more information.

" Good facilities are really important for us and we always have lots of kit. We have to take everything we need for Reece’s food, water and medication, plus anything we might need in an emergency."
- Michelle Lancaster

What does Reece enjoy most about his visits?

Reece loves the scenery outdoors and seeing what different people are doing. He doesn’t get frustrated or bored. Reece can’t speak, but we have a machine that helps him to communicate.

Reece’s new chair helps him enjoy Rhossili, on Gower, near Swansea
Reece’s new chair helps him enjoy Rhossili, on Gower, near Swansea
Reece’s new chair helps him enjoy Rhossili, on Gower, near Swansea

We can mainly tell how much he is enjoying things by his expressions. He is so smiley and you can tell how relaxed he feels when we visit places he loves.