Yorkshire Organ Donors Honoured For Saving Lives

People from Yorkshire who saved lives through the gift of organ donation have been posthumously honoured at a moving award ceremony.

They received the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation, run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, which was given to their families and loved ones on their behalf. The private award ceremony was held at Wakefield Town Hall, in Wakefield, on 24th September 2018. Hundreds of families are receiving the award at regional ceremonies held across the UK between September and December. The awards recognise the 1,574 people who donated their organs after death last year, leading to thousands of patients’ lives being saved or transformed. Those donors recognised at Wakefield Town Hall ceremony included Gavin Lupton, 37, from Otley, Leeds, who became a lifesaving organ donor after dying from a biking accident at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2017.  

Gavin Lupton

The West Yorkshire motorbike rider came off his bike at the Dundrod 150 challenge on Thursday, August 10.Gavin was taken to Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he was treated for critical injuries that involved damage to the body and the brain. Gavin’s condition left him in a coma and as a result the medical team advised he may not regain consciousness. 

Hannah Lupton, 42, who received the award on behalf of Gavin said, “The medical team advised that due to the swelling of his brain it was likely he would either pass away whilst in a coma or be kept alive with assisted breathing via a machine.”

“In the end Gavin passed away peacefully one night which was a blessing as he never wanted to be kept alive with the aid of machines or be left seriously impaired for the rest of his life.”

“Gavin’s consultant advised us that he had joined the organ donor register, we had discussed that he wanted to be a donor in the past but I was shocked that he had actually joined the register. All Gavin’s organs were donated except his corneas.”

“I am so proud of my husband. It is comforting to know that even in his death he was able to help people.

“I have had a letter from the kidney recipient and the heart recipient and it has brought me so much peace knowing that he is living on in other people whilst also giving them a gift of life.”Gavin, also known as ‘Luppy’ had been competing at the Ulster Grand Prix since 2015. He was a popular and experienced rider with more than 15 years as a semi-professional rider. 

Gavin was a family man who loved spending time with his family and friends however, he lived for his passion of racing and there was nothing in life that brought him more joy.  During 2017/18, thanks to the generosity of these donors and the support of their families, the number of deceased donors in the UK went up from 1,413 to 1,574, a rise of 11% and the highest number ever in the UK.

There are now more than 25m people on the NHS Organ Donor Register. However there are still around 6,100 people on the UK transplant waiting list and around three people die each day in need of an organ. NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for people in Yorkshire to be inspired by the actions of the donors honoured at this ceremony. Everyone in the UK is urged to tell their family they want to save lives through organ donation. One day it could be someone you love, or even you, in need of a transplant.

Tony Shepherd, Head of County Priory Group Affairs for the Priory of England and the Islands of the Order of St John, said: “We’re delighted to be able to work with NHS Blood and Transplant to run the Organ Donor Awards for a sixth year and to meet the inspirational families attending the ceremonies. Organ donation can clearly save lives and it is a genuine privilege to be able to say thank you to these families, whose loved ones have already donated their organs to save other people’s lives.

“People are still dying every day because some families are not talking about donation. We hope the example set by the organ donors whose lives we are honouring in Bristol encourages many others to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. It only takes two minutes to join the millions of other people who want to save lives.” 

Anthony Clarkson, Interim Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The pride families feel at these ceremonies is inspirational. Transplant patients tell us that organ donors and their families are heroes. This award is a chance for us all to recognise their bravery and generosity, and their amazing contribution to society. 

“More and more people are supporting organ donation but there is still an urgent shortage of donors. We hope these awards will inspire other people in Yorkshire to tell their families they want to save lives. Telling your family what you want makes things easier at a difficult time. Families tell us donation is a source of pride that helps families in their grieving process and we don’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to donate.  

“Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and tell your family you want to save lives through organ donation.” The award memento features the organ donation heart logo backed by the Maltese Cross – which is used by the Order of St John – above the words ‘add life, give hope’. The award can be received at a regional ceremony or sent to the family privately. This is the sixth year the awards have been made. They are open to people of all faiths or of no faith. 

  • Words save lives. Join the millions of people that have told their family they want to be an organ donor atwww.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

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