Coventry has been chosen to host the Westfield Health British Transplant Games for the first time next summer and Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe MP will be guest of honour at the official launch of the Games, being held at the University of Warwick's new Indoor Tennis Centre on Wednesday 12 November 2008.
Dean of Warwick Medical School Professor Yvonne Carter is Chair of the Coventry Games, which are being organised by the charity Transplant Sport UK. The launch of the 2009 event this week also marks the official opening of the University of Warwick's new Indoor Tennis Centre. The Centre has been part funded by the Lawn Tennis Association, Sport England and an anonymous benefactor. It is just one of the University's sporting facilities which will be used during the Games.
The University will also be home to the Games Village for more than 600 athletes and 1,500 supporters expected to travel to the City from all over the UK. The event will take place from 30 July until 2 August 2009 and is also supported by Coventry City Council and Coventry University.
The aim of the Games is to encourage transplant patients to regain fitness and promote awareness of the need for more people to sign on to the NHS Organ Donor Register. There are currently 10,000 people waiting for organ transplants in the UK, 500 of these live in the West Midlands and it is a sad fact that many will die waiting. All of the athletes have experienced life threatening illness and are now fit and well as a result of a successful transplant.
To mark the launch, transplant tennis players will be given a coaching session by Matt Thomas, the University of Warwick's new head tennis coach. One of the players will be Teresa White from Coventry, who had a transplant in 2002. Teresa, who is a Warwickshire Local Authority Children's Services Adviser, has competed in the Games since her transplant and holds medals for tennis, squash, badminton and table tennis. She has also won a silver medal in squash at the World Transplant Games in Canada in 2005.
Other players taking part in the coaching session include Matthew Lynch, 16, from Telford. Matthew, who had a kidney transplant in 2006 at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, has won two silver medals in previous games. Paul Bill, 24, from Solihull, had a heart transplant in 2004 and has won gold medals at previous Games for both tennis and table tennis events.
Also attending the launch will be former Olympic triple jumper Eric McCalla. Eric competed for Great Britain in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics before being diagnosed with renal failure. He has had two kidney transplants, the latest one taking place at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire.
Chairman of Transplant Sport UK, Peter Ford said: "The British Transplant Games have taken place every year since 1978 in a number of cities around the UK. We are delighted to be invited to bring the Games to Coventry for the first time and look forward to the hospitality of the city. This is a great opportunity to show the benefits of organ transplantation to the local community, and hopefully have great support at the events."
Professor Yvonne Carter is Dean of Warwick Medical School and Chair of the Coventry Local Organising Committee for the Westfield Health British Transplant Games. She said: "I am delighted that the Sports Minister can join us at the launch of such a prestigious event. The University of Warwick and the City of Coventry is developing a reputation for hosting large sports events and the Westfield Health British Transplant Games is one of the biggest annual multi-sports events in the UK."
Notes to editor
For more information contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Communications Officer, University of Warwick, 02476 150483, 07824 540863, email@example.comFor further information on organ donation or the British Transplant Games or if you require commentary on any of the key issues involved in organ transplantation please contact Madeleine Roles. Dominic Dennis or Justine Hoadley at HSL on 020 8977 9132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Transplant Sport UK visit www.transplantsport.org.ukTo sign up to the NHS Organ Transplant Register visit UK Transplant www.uktransplant.org.uk or call 0845 60 60 4001. Transplant Sport UK (TSUK) is a registered Charity whose main aim is to raise awareness of the need for organ donation in the UK and worldwide. Through organising sports and social events for transplant recipients, Transplant Sport UK demonstrates the benefits of organ donation and proves that you can lead a normal and active life again after transplantation. For further information, please visit www.transplantsport.org.uk We would respectfully ask that in any articles, that the following information is included: To register on the NHS Organ Donor Register please telephone 0845 60 60 400 or go to www.uktransplant.org.uk to register online. Most importantly, please discuss your wishes with your family and friends - thank you. For further general information about transplantation, please contact the UK Transplant press office on 0117 975 7518/7475/7477