Park is ready to swing
By LUIS FELIU
A SWING designed to be used with a wheelchair is one of the features of a Palm Beach playground recently redeveloped to cater for children of all abilities.
The second stage of the Sophie Purcell Playground in Laguna Park, Palm Beach, named in 1999 in memory of an eight-year-old Palm Beach girl who died that year from a rare genetic disorder, was opened last week.
Divisional Councillor Daphne McDonald, who allocated $300,000 of her divisional funds for the project, said the playground was among the first of its kind in Australia.
Built around a nautical theme, the playground features a pirate ship module, a lighthouse, a bridge, cargo nets and various slides and rotating equipment.
The playground features a special $25,000 Liberty Swing, designed to be used with a wheelchair donated by the Variety Club, a pedal-car monorail, swings and spring toys, climbing equipment and a sand area with specially designed play equipment.
Cr McDonald said a 'Yellowbrick Road' on the boundary of the playground was perfect for bikes and wheel- chairs and the entire playground area, including tables, seats, barbecue and covered pavilion, was enclosed by a safety fence.
Sophie Purcell, after whom the playground was named, she said, was a "very special little girl" who was determined not to allow her condition to prevent her attending school or pursuing her interests in dancing, gymnastics and Tae Kwon Do.
"She was quite inspirational ... Laguna Park had been one of Sophie's favourite places, she spent a lot of happy hours playing there with her brother and sister", she said.