Darcy Keefe, with the help of mum Margie, was the first child to ride the new swing.
Darcy Keefe, with the help of mum Margie, was the first child to ride the new swing.

Swing thrills felt for first time

By GLEN PORTEOUSglenp@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

SOARING through the air on a park swing is a childhood memory nearly everyone would have.

But until Saturday it was only a dream for many of Gladstone's disabled children, who could do nothing but look on and wonder what it would be like.

That all changed when the Gladstone Liberty Swing was opened at Lions Park at the weekend, and the excitement was palpable as, for the first time, the wheelchair-bound kids felt the thrill of the wind in the hair and their stomach in their chest as they swung back and forth on the specially designed swing.

For the parents the moment was just as special. Family gatherings in the park can now be for all their children, and they can all enjoy the same freedom.

Andrew Keefe, whose son Darcy was enjoying the swing, was overjoyed.

'It's great, Darcy has a small one at home and he has outgrown it,' he said.

'He loves it outside and loves being in a swing.'

Mother Margie said it was wonderful to see something for special needs children.

The swing was funded through money raised by the recent Gladstone Motorworld Ball, the Rotary Club of Gladstone Sunrise, Variety Queensland and Gladstone City Council.

Costing approximately $38,000, the swing is one of many to be installed throughout Queensland.

The wheelchairs are pushed into the swing platform and the chairs are anchored into position, providing the kids with a safe ride.

Steve and Debbie Glossop, who were also at the opening with their children, thought it was a great idea.

'The family is no longer fractured and instead of (our son) Kerrod being stuck at home, he can come out and join us,' Steve said.

Michelle Stafford from Variety Gladstone said disabled children no longer had to sit on the sidelines as other children enjoyed a swing.

The key to the swing is held at McDonalds and users must sign-in and sign-out when borrowing it.



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