Earlier this month Transplant Sport announced that its biggest annual sporting and cultural event, the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, would not take place as planned in Coventry this summer due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Today it has been confirmed that the Games will return to the city in 2023.
Transplant Sport, the largest UK charity promoting the life-saving benefits of organ donation and the importance of staying active post-transplant, has also confirmed that the next British Transplant Games will take place in Leeds in the summer of 2021.
The Westfield Health British Transplant Games was scheduled to be staged in the city of Coventry from 30thJuly to 2ndAugust. Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick and Coventry University were all playing major roles in the event with support from the University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire, which is a major transplant centre in the UK.
The decision to cancel this summer’s event was made with the full support of the Games’ key stakeholders including sponsors Westfield Health, KidneyCareUK, Donor Family Network, Anthony Nolan and NHS Blood and Transplant, as well as the local partners and supporters.
“The wellbeing and safety of our Transplant Sport community is our priority”,said Dr Paul Harden, Chairman of Transplant Sport. “With all transplant recipients in isolation until the end of June, it is not possible for them to prepare for the Games and it is clear that as a vulnerable group, isolation and social distancing will be an ongoing issue for them for a continued period of time. In addition, many of the Games volunteers work within the NHS and supporting networks.”, added Doctor Harden, a Nephrology Specialist at the OxfordUniversity Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
For the Games’ organisers it is a sad blow when much had been put in place. Councillor John Mutton, Chairman of the Coventry Games Stakeholder Board, was thankful to all the Coventry organisations that had been instrumental in helping pull the Games together.
“In 2009, Coventry hosted a Games that created fantastic memories for all involved and huge promotion for the benefits of transplantation throughout the UK. Unfortunately, at present we are all facing challenging times and the decision to not run the Games in 2020 although disappointing, is surely the right decision”, added Councillor Mutton.
Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Director of Sport and Active Communities at the University of Warwick, a major advocate of the Games, was delighted to confirm the events return.
“We are very pleased that all partners have made a further commitment to bring the Games back to the City and the University in the summer of 2023. We can build on the profile we have generated to date and make the Transplant Games a major legacy event following on from Coventry’s 2021 City of Culture and the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
The 2021 Games taking place in Leeds, West Yorkshire are being supported by Leeds City Council and hospital charity Leeds Cares, with the exact dates to be confirmed.
“On behalf of Transplant Sport may I thank all our friends and supporters in Coventry for their support to date, and we are pleased to fulfil our promise to stage the Games in the City, but in 2023. We would especially like to thank all our key stakeholders and our event organiser MLS for all their support and dedication through this difficult time. To all transplant recipients, donors and donor families we realise these are very difficult times for many of you but we will get through the Coronavirus Outbreak and we will make sure BTG and all Transplant Sport Events are there for you all in 2021 and beyond.” stated Doctor Harden.
“In the meantime, we very much look forward to the prospect of a great Yorkshire welcome and bouncing back in 2021 to Leeds who have established a solid foundation for the Games whilst having an international reputation in transplantation and a huge commitment to promoting health and well-being”added Doctor Harden.
Games organisers MLS Contracts will be in touch shortly with those that have registered for the cancelled 2020 Games regarding refunds.
For more information, visit: britishtransplantgames.co.uk