Monday 27 July 2015

Inspirational athletes arrive on Tyneside this week to kick-start four days of celebration and competition at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2015, (30 July-02 August).

Graham Wylie, chair of the Local Organising Committee for The Games, said: “With more than 2000 competitors and supporters set to attend the British Transplant Games in the North East, I’d urge local people to join us and ensure these inspirational athletes receive a welcome we can be proud of.  All of the events are free for the public to attend and with teams from hospitals up and down the UK taking part alongside international teams from, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Australia, USA, Switzerland and Ireland also competing, the Games themselves are set to deliver a thrilling four days for all involved.”

Activity kick-starts on Thursday with a parade through Newcastle City Centre and an opening ceremony that will see the Transplant Flag handed over from the Manchester Royal Infirmary team to the Newcastle Freeman Hospital team. The Donor Family Flame will also be lit in recognition and celebration of those who have given the gift of life.

Vicky Pettersen, team manager for the Freeman Heart & Lung Transplant Association, said: “The team have worked hard in preparation for the Games and we’re looking forward not only to meeting up with friends from across the Transplant Games family, but hopefully bringing a few medals home too. Ultimately the main thing is taking part celebrating being fit and well and honouring our donor regardless of our ability. I’d like to wish everyone taking part the very best of luck, and may the best team win!”

Spectator Highlights

Opening Parade

Thursday 30 July, 18:00 – 19:15
Starting at Old Eldon Square

Members of the public are invited to support the athletes as they gather in Old Eldon Square and parade along Blackett Street, Northumberland Street and Northumberland Road towards the City Hall for a private opening ceremony.

Cycling

Friday 31 July, 17:30-20:30

Leazes Park, Newcastle

Swimming

Saturday 01 August, 09:30-17:30
Sunderland Aquatic Centre

Speedflex Donor Run
Saturday 01 August, 18:30-20:30
NewcastleGateshead Quayside

The Donor Run is open to members of the public and corporate teams with two distances to choose from, 3k and 5k. Regular runners include transplant athletes and members of the Donor Family Network. The event takes place to raise funds in support of the British Transplant Games as well as awareness of the importance of, and desperate need for, organ and bone marrow donors.

Track & Field
Sunday 02 August, 09:00-17:30

Gateshead International Stadium

The British Transplant Games celebrate the transformative effects of transplantation and help to raise awareness of the desperate need for more people to join the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow and NHS Organ Donor registers.

Lynne Holt, trustee for Transplant Sport, the charity behind the Games said: “The journey and achievements of all of the athletes is inspirational and The Games are a wonderful way of bringing issues relating to donation under the spotlight. Around 32% of the UK population are registered donors, but on average 42% of relatives refuse permission for organ donation to take place. The window for successful transplantation is limited. By speaking with family, individuals can help ensure their wishes are carried out, meaning fewer people will die because an organ is not available.”

Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, Councillor Gary Haley said: “Gateshead Council is extremely proud to be co-hosting such an amazing event.   These athletes are a true inspiration to us all. I’d encourage everyone to show their support by coming to cheer them on and witness some outstanding sport at the many events taking place across the four days.”

Councillor Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development at Newcastle City Council said: “There are a number of great events happening across the city as we welcome the biggest transplant games ever to the North East. It’s a huge privilege for NewcastleGateshead to host such an inspiring and exciting event and I am sure the people of the region will be out in force to cheer on all the athletes and give them the warm Geordie welcome we are renowned for. We would also like to encourage everyone to sign up to become a donor, to help the three hundred people in our region who are on the transplant list.”

Every 10 minutes, somebody’s name gets added to the donor waiting list whilst three people die every day because they can’t get the organ they need. In the North East alone there are currently more than 300 people waiting for transplants, with 7000 people on the transplant list nationally.

To find out more about the Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2015 please

visit www.britishtransplantgames.co.uk, ‘like’ The British Transplant Games on

Facebook, or follow @WHBTG on Twitter.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives TEXT: SAVE to 62323, call 0300 123 2323 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.

To join the bone marrow donor register or for further information go to http://www.anthonynolan.org/