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Donor families honoured at Ely Cathedral

12 May 2015
Families who donated a loved one’s organs to help save others joined transplant patients at a thanksgiving service at Ely Cathedral this weekend.

More than 1300 people attended the special ceremony on Sunday 10 May to honour the memories of organ donors and celebrate the lives of transplant recipients.

Guests included families from across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, who consented to organ donation, and patients who had life-saving transplants at CUH Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospitals.

Dr Paul Gibbs, consultant transplant surgeon at CUH Addenbrooke´s Hospital, said: "This thanksgiving service is really important because it recognises the gift of life that organ donation means. Transplants are one of the miracles of modern medicine and the best possible treatment for most patients with end-stage organ failure. There are approximately 60 people living in Cambridgeshire waiting for a transplant operation so we always need people to tell their families they support organ donation and to join the NHS Organ Donor Register."

Angela Waterhouse, Specialist Nurse – Organ Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “This was the ninth ceremony of its kind at Ely and it was a very moving time for everyone involved. The service is a way of thanking donor families for their generosity and selflessness at one of the most distressing times in their life. It is also an opportunity for donor families to see first-hand how a decision to donate their loved one’s organs changes lives – and for transplant recipients to have an opportunity to thank families whose brave choices enable others to have a second chance at life.”

Ann Marie Ingle, chief nurse at CUH, Alison Moore, Nigel Garner and Maggie GambrillCandles were lit during the ceremony for organ donors and transplant patients and their loved ones. Ann-Marie Ingle, Chief Nurse at CUH, lit a candle for medical staff.

On behalf of donor families, Alison Moore lit a candle in memory of her mother, whose organs were donated after her death.

Maggie Gambrill, who had a heart transplant at Papworth Hospital in 2002, and Nigel Garner, who received a kidney transplant, lit a candle on behalf of transplant recipients.

Maggie said: "I was delighted to be able to light a candle at the service. The special gift of life has enabled me to achieve many new challenges including competing in the World Transplant Games. I think of my donor every day and live life to the full in his memory. I feel privileged to have this opportunity to say thank you and to further promote organ donation."

Across the UK, there are currently around 7,000 people waiting for a transplant.

Dean of Ely Mark Bonney, who took the service, said: “Ely Cathedral is privileged to host this very special service of thanksgiving which not only acknowledges those who have selflessly donated their organs to save the lives of others, but also gives thanks for the lives of all who have received organs through the generosity of these brave donors and their families”

Photo: (L to Right) Ann-Marie Ingle Chief Nurse at Addenbrooke's lit a candle for medical staff. On behalf of donor families, Alison Moore lit a candle in memory of her mother, whose organs were donated after her death. Nigel Garner, who received a kidney transplant, and Maggie Gambrill, who received a heart transplant, lit a candle for transplant patients.