‘Hero’ Derbyshire organ donors who have saved lives honoured with St John Award

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‘Heroes’ from Derbyshire who saved lives through organ donation have been posthumously honoured at a moving award ceremony in Chesterfield.

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 St Thomas Centre in Brampton.

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.

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 per cent 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 Derbyshire 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.

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 Derbyshire 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 Derbyshire 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.”

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.

Sign up to become an organ donor at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.