Pictured are Yuri Matischen and John Timms from MLS with the Pride of Sport Trophy
The Westfield Health British Transplant Games has been recognised with a prestigious national sporting award.
The Games, which highlight the importance of organ donation, won the Event of the Year award at the Daily Mirror Pride of Sport Awards.
Hosted by charity Transplant Sport, the event this year was held in Liverpool and was one of the most successful ever, with thousands of people being inspired to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register as a result.
Organised by MLS and sponsored by Westfield Health, both renowned Sheffield organisations, the event has gone from strength to strength in recent years and now attracts hundreds of athletes from across the UK – all of whom have undergone a life-saving transplant.
In partnership with Transplant Sport, Westfield Health and MLS have worked closely to create an event which both showcases the talents of the athletes and provides a platform to demonstrate the benefits of organ transplantation.
The award is a culmination of the experience and effort put into the games over the last 39 years, especially during the last decade since MLS started managing the event and Westfield Health came on board as headline sponsor.
The Westfield Health British Transplant Games, which has taken place annually since 1978, see athletes come together to compete in a variety of sporting events, from swimming and lawn bowls to running and volleyball. They are accompanied by members of their family, support personnel and coaches.
The Liverpool games saw more than 1,000 athletes and 1500 supporters from across the country come together across the city, which boosted the local economy by more than £1.1 million. As a result, the number of people signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register increased by eight per cent.
Andy Eddy, chair of Transplant Sport Trustees and liver transplant recipient, said: “We are delighted to have won this prestigious award that recognises the culmination of effort put into the Games over the last 39 years.
“Although the award comes on the back of this year’s Games, it is a testament of the hard work, team effort, commitment, passion and ongoing support from our volunteers, LOC’s, sponsors and partners. This is a great opportunity to build the Games and to provide more publicity of the need for organ donation.”
With approximately 7,000 people in the UK estimated to be waiting for an organ transplant, and three people dying each day while waiting to find a match, there is still a desperate need for more people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register but most importantly to discuss their donation wishes with their families.
Graham Moore, Westfield Health chairman, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won a Pride of Sport Award. It is fantastic recognition of the work that Transplant Sport, MLS and Westfield Health do to create an event that inspires so many people to sign up as organ donors, whilst showcasing the talents of the fantastic athletes who take part.
“Westfield Health has supported the Games for more than a decade now, and we are proud to say we will continue our longstanding backing, remaining as headline sponsor until 2019. It is an honour to help spread the message of the importance of organ donation that is at the heart of the event.”
John Timms games director MLS Contracts, said: “Winning the Pride of Sport Award is amazing recognition for all the hard work and dedication of the team that works together to deliver the Games. Without the support of all our partners, in particular Westfield Health, we would not be able to deliver for Transplant Sport the impacts and benefits of organ donation and transplantation.
“We have worked hard to grow the Games to twice its size and its inspirational to work with the charity and its many volunteers, athletes, team managers and of course the Live donors and Donor Families. I am so pleased that all these people can be recognised through this award.”
The Daily Mirror Pride of Sport awards are designed to recognise unsung sporting heroes from across the UK. The Event of the Year Award celebrates a sporting event that has had a positive impact on the lives of many.
The 2017 Games will be held in North Lanarkshire, the 2018 Games are scheduled for Birmingham and the location of the 2019 Games is yet to be confirmed.