Just in time for the festive holidays, Swanage Town Council has delivered a brand new play park, and re-named it The Chadwick Playground, after a local hero who saved the lives of 669 children.
The play area on the Recreation Ground by the Swanage Bandstand, was due for a revamp, so over November and the beginning of December 2020, the diggers moved in and new play equipment has been installed.
The site has been transformed
While the site has been transformed, the council has kept the well-loved play train that was donated many years ago in memory of a local child.
The site has been designed along the principles of Play England, a charity that campaigns for all children and young people to have the freedom and space to play throughout childhood. In particular, the new equipment aims to be accessible to all children with and without disabilities.
It’s very likely that these principles would have been welcomed by Trevor Chadwick, who the playground has been named after.
An incredibly brave Swanage man
He was an incredibly brave Swanage man and when more was discovered about his extraordinary work just before the start of World War Two, a trust was set up in the town to create a memorial to him.
Linda Welsh from the Trevor Chadwick Memorial Trust explained:
“When the story of Trevor Chadwick came to light, we decided to raise funds to create a statue of him in his hometown, so he would be remembered.
“The more we investigated, the more we found out about his work at the end of 1938 and up to June 1939. It became clear that he had risked his life, to not only get children out of German occupied Prague, but adults as well. He is credited with saving 669 children from Nazi persecution and possible death.
“The Nazi’s were in control and he had to deal with them to get permission to move these children on the Kindertransport – not an easy task especially when he was using forged papers for some of the children and adults.
“His fate would have probably been a concentration camp”
“Had this been discovered, he would have been arrested and his fate would have probably been a concentration camp. His obvious dedication to saving these children is evident in some of the testimonials given by those he saved, “a tall man who made me laugh”, “a very kind man who held my hand and made me feel safe”, this is from young children who remember him for these reasons.
“When there were discussions about refurbishing the playground on the Recreation Ground, the trust was delighted to hear that it was going to be named after Trevor Chadwick. The statue is progressing well and it is hoped that once it is finished it will be adjacent to the playground – what a fitting tribute to this extraordinary Swanage man!”
The life-size bronze sculpture is being created by local artist, Moira Purver. The trust is still raising funds to pay for it and would welcome donations. More about Trevor Chadwick’s story and how to contribute towards the statue can be found on The Trevor Chadwick Memorial Trust website