Date of release: Friday 11th March, 2016
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has unveiled a permanent memorial dedicated to organ and tissue donors and their families and a tribute to healthcare staff who coordinate the donation and transplant services.
The memorial is situated in a public area outside the new £38million Urgent and Emergency Care Centre at New Cross Hospital, which opened in November 2015.
The memorial was funded by The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust charity, and a plaque which serves as an information point for visitors and staff was funded by the University of Wolverhampton, Faculty of Arts.
Three companies were involved in the construction of the memorial, including locally based fabricators Ceandess, who also manufactured the plaque.
The official opening of the memorial took place at New Cross Hospital on Sunday 13 March 2016.
The multi-faith dedication ceremony was led by the Trust’s Senior Chaplain, Father Craig Fullard.
Donor family representatives, Mrs Rosemary Cox and her daughter Christine who campaigned for an NHS Organ Donor Register, were also present.
The designers, Matthew Sadler and Neal Welch recently graduated from the University of Wolverhampton School of Art. They competed with 14 other University students for the coveted prize to produce this specially commissioned work. Their winning design ‘The Gift of Life’ features two hands that poignantly depict the gesture of giving and receiving ‘the gift’, and an infinity loop represents DNA and the continuity of life. The designers said: “The ‘gift of life’ is the greatest gift that anyone can give. We feel very proud of the contribution we have made in honour of this.”
Dr Wendy Walker, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Wolverhampton and Project Lead said: “To our knowledge, the memorial at New Cross Hospital is the first of its kind to be built on evidence obtained from donor families. This very special tribute is a humbling reminder of people’s generosity and an inspiration for others to donate.”
Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University, said: “As an organisation, we’ve been successfully working in partnership with the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust for many years, focusing on research and development to improve the quality of care for patients through our Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing.
“The ‘Gift of Life’ project was a real-life art commission which provided our Faculty of Arts students with invaluable hands-on work-experience.
“After months of hard work, dedication and commitment the designers, Matthew and Neal, have created a striking memorial sculpture and, as a University, we are all really proud that this will be permanently on display outside New Cross Hospital.”
A further unique feature of the memorial is a Quick Response (QR) code engraved on the plaque. This initiative is designed to attract visitors to the NHS Organ Donation website when scanned.
One donor can save or transform the lives of up to nine people, and many more can be helped through the donation of tissues. Figures released by NHS Blood and Transplant in 2015 revealed that 34 people in Wolverhampton were waiting for a transplant and currently over 7000 people are on the UK national transplant waiting list. To find out more information or to add your name to the NHS Organ Donation Register, please visit https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-to-donate/