A MEMORIAL to honour those who have donated organs to help others has been unveiled at a hospital.

The stone memorial with brass hearts was unveiled on Tuesday, November 26 where it will stand in Darlington Memorial Hospital's sensory garden.

The commemorative monument will remember patients at the hospital who became organ donors to help others in need.

A short service was held at the hospital to unveil the memorial, where Rev Kevin Tromans performed a blessing in honour.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Paul Forster-Jones, a non-executive director at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the Trust’s Organ Donation Committee, said: “We are privileged to be unveiling a new memorial, not only in honour of the 32 members of our community who donated organs at this hospital but also to give thanks to future donors.

“From our very first donor, Alan Shelton, a local man from Darlington whose family are here today, to donors from all across our region from Darlington, Shildon, Bowburn, Shotton Colliery, Barnard Castle, Middlesbrough and Richmond.

“The 32 donors at this hospital to date have resulted in around 100 people receiving either life saving or life transforming operations. A further 200 people have also benefited from transplants from donors at our other acute hospital in Durham, so nearly 300 people have received a new chance at life as a result of the kindness of others from our community."

Samantha Ward, who lost her mother 12 months ago, was one of those who attended the unveiling in recognition of her mother’s wishes to be an organ donor.

She said: “We left here twelve months ago without our special Mam - but just like our Dad had 23 years ago – she had made the decision to be an organ donor. We are so proud of the lives we know they have both gone on to save.

“Mam would always joke and say ‘when I’m gone I don’t need it, so if there’s anything worth having they can have it’. Even though we had talked about this and had agrees it with her, it still was the toughest decision to make when the time came. We knew though, that it was what Mam wanted and we wanted to honour her wishes. Life doesn’t get any better or easier it’s just different. It has however made us appreciate how important it is to share your wishes with your loved ones no matter how difficult those conversations are.

“We would like to thank all the transplant team and medical staff for the amazing job they do and all the help, support and care they provide every day.

“We are all incredibly proud to be here today to unveil this memorial as a way of remembering everyone who has given the gift of life to others.”

The sculpture has been funded through the Trust’s Charity and was commissioned from local craftsmen, shaped and hand carved by Alan Richardson.