Posthumous awards for Norfolk and Waveney organ donors who gave the ultimate gift of life
- Credit: Archant
Families who have given the ultimate gift of life following the loss of a loved-one have received special awards that aim to encourage more East Anglians to become organ donors.
Organ donors from across Norfolk and Waveney have been honoured posthumously at an awards ceremony after leaving a lasting legacy following their death.
Dozens of relatives, including the family of 17-year-old Matthew Berry, who died of a brain haemorrhage, were presented with the new award, created by the Order of St John alongside NHS Blood and Transplant, to thank those who saved and improved people's lives through organ donation.
Almost 300,000 people in Norfolk are on the organ donor register. However, 75 patients in Norfolk were waiting for a transplant during the festive season.
The private award ceremony was held at the Great Hospital in Norwich on December 10 with the awards presented by HM Lord Lieutenant Richard Jewson, and the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Keith Driver.
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Relatives receiving the award in Norwich on behalf of their loved ones also included Gwen Raine, from Lowestoft, whose husband Paul was an organ donor, Brian Davidson from Norwich, whose wife Charlotte was an organ donor, Adele Meakin from Norwich, whose husband Simon, 48, died of a pulmonary embolism last year, Hannah Jones from Taverham, whose father Brian was an organ donor, Marcus Noakes from Great Yarmouth, whose long-term partner Lynda Sharples was an organ donor, and Laura Dennis from Norwich, whose father Adrian was an organ donor.
Hundreds of families have been attending regional ceremonies across the UK to receive the award in memory of people whose deaths saved lives and gave hope.
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Brigadier Alasdair Wilson, from the Order of St John charity, said: 'With thousands of people in the UK in need of a transplant, we felt it was important to say thank you to the families whose loved ones have already donated their organs.
'These families are an inspiration to all. With around three people dying every day due to the shortage of organs, we hope these families' pride will encourage many more to follow in their footsteps and agree to become an organ donor.'
Between April 2012 and March 2013, the families of 1,212 people in the UK agreed to donate their loved-ones' organs, leading to thousands of patients' lives being saved or transformed. Those 1,212 families were invited to receive the new award.
Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: 'Losing a loved-one is devastating to family and friends. We hope receiving this new award will mean a great deal to those who have lost someone close to them and also give them renewed pride in their decision to agree to donation. The decision to donate their organs is an amazing legacy. We want everyone to be proud to donate.'
'Having a conversation about organ donation is vitally important as we know that making a decision to donate a loved one's organs is so much easier if you know what their wishes were. We would urge people to have that conversation with people close to them and record their intention to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register.'
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323 or text SAVE to 62323.
Have you benefitted from an organ transplant? Contact health correspondent Adam Gretton on 01603 772419 or email email@example.com