Update on Silver Lake Splashpad Efforts
Oct 28, 2016 06:00AM ● Published by Marjorie Turner Hollman
You may recall reading last winter about the Shaw family in Bellingham, the loss of their newborn twin Alex, and their efforts to find a way to remember their son while giving back to the community. The Shaws came up with the idea of raising funds for a splashpad to be installed at Silver Lake in memory of Alex and other children who have lived too-short lives.
So much has changed since last March when we last talked with Wendy Shaw, Alex’s mom. We checked in with her recently and learned that enough funds have been raised to allow for the installation of the splashpad. When we stopped by Silver Lake recently, we got a glimpse of what children will be able to enjoy next summer when they need a place to cool off and have fun.
The concrete pad has been poured, and the above-ground features are in place: mushrooms, butterflies, frogs, and ladybugs. Located adjacent to the playground area at Silver Lake, the newest addition is in a convenient spot for children to enjoy time on the play equipment or cool off in sprays of water on the splashpad. Parents can keep an eye on children either way, since the structures are so close to each other. It turns out that when the playground at Silver Lake was planned, a splashpad was in the original design but was never installed because of lack of funds. When Wendy and her husband, Jon, initiated their original inquiries, they learned about the plans for a splashpad at Silver Lake. Bellingham selectmen approved the Shaws’ idea and knew exactly where it could go, which was next to the play equipment.
“It’s been exciting to see this happening,” Wendy said. “I took my kids over when they broke ground, again the second day when they laid out piping, and the kids saw all the pipes. On the third day I took them over to see the above-ground features.”
Wendy wrote recently on Facebook for the Little Angels splashpad, “Why do we like ladybugs as a symbol for Alex and other little angels who left this world too soon? If you Google ‘legends behind ladybugs,’ it is claimed that the ladybug was named in the Middle Ages after the Virgin Mary, who assisted farmers when they prayed to her as bugs invaded their crops. The ladybug helps keep fields safe from other insects and by doing so evokes harmony in our world. Its life is short, but it can teach us to release our worries and enjoy experiences to the fullest. Ladybugs remind us to let go of what we can't control and to ‘let God.’ Who can better teach us to enjoy our experiences to the fullest than young children who get lost in their play and in their joy? It is our hope that the Little Angels Splashpad will bring this joy to children and remind us all to enjoy the moments of our lives.”
The Shaw family is still raising funds for a low sitting-wall that will surround the entire structure. Looking for ways to donate? Have extra change or a few dollars to spare? There are collection jars around town, so keep your eyes open for the ladybug logo! Want to make a larger donation? You can donate via credit card two ways: PayPal.Me/LittleAngelsSplash or https://www.crowdrise.com/splashpadforalex.
For a tax deductible donation, checks made out to the town of Bellingham Splashpad Fund can be mailed to P.O. Box 752, Bellingham, MA 02019.