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Gift of Life Memorial celebrates organ donors' 'incredible gift'

Published 07/04/2016

The memorial is dedicated to those who have
The memorial is dedicated to those who have "saved and transformed" the lives of others, NHS Blood and Transplant said

A national memorial paying tribute to people who have donated their organs is to be unveiled.

The memorial, which is dedicated to the tens of thousands of organ and tissue donors across the UK, is to be officially opened by the Duke of Gloucester at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

The Gift of Life Memorial is dedicated to those who have "saved and transformed" the lives of others, NHS Blood and Transplant said.

Among those attending the unveiling ceremony will be organ donors, recipients and the families of donors.

The family of donor Keith Buckley, a retired fire officer who died in December, said the memorial was a "fitting tribute".

Mr Buckley, 74, died after suffering a serious head injury after falling off a ladder while putting up Christmas lights at his home in Nottingham.

His daughter Jane Stubbs, 49, said: "It's like he is living on, his legacy is still out there. It has helped us knowing that other people have benefited from Dad's gift. It means something positive and good has come of out such a tragedy.

"I think the memorial is a brilliant idea and the arboretum is a lovely place to come to remember and honour people. It's important to celebrate all those people who have given something amazing.

"I think my dad would be really proud to be an organ donor, he'd do anything for anyone so it's a fitting tribute."

The sculpture is inspired by the logo of the charity behind the memorial, the Donor Family Network. The charity provides support to organ and tissue donor families and promotes organ and tissue donation.

The memorial, a colourful mosaic butterfly on top of a forget-me-not flower on a bronze base which bears the words "Reflection, Recognition, Remembrance", was designed by Birmingham artist Julia Hennessy-Priest.

David Nix, chairman of the Donor Family Network, said: "It has been one of the charity's dreams to have a national memorial for everyone whose lives have been touched by organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

"We hope that this is a place where donor families can proudly remember the amazing gift their loved one made as well as a place that people whose lives have been saved by donors can pay tribute to the stranger who helped them."

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "Every donor has given an incredible gift and we know their families take great pride and comfort from knowing their loved one has transformed the lives of others."

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