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NewcastleGateshead wins World Transplant Games bid

5th July 2016

Categories: Latest News

Following a competitive bidding process, NewcastleGateshead has successfully won a bid to host the World Transplant Games in 2019.
NewcastleGateshead hosted the most successful British Transplant Games ever in 2015 and subsequently launched a bid to host the World Games in summer 2019. An initial bid document was submitted earlier this year and the destination was shortlisted alongside Houston, Texas.
A panel visit from key members of the World Transplant Games Federation took place in May 2016, as they assessed the suitability of the shortlisted cities, and the process culminated in a final presentation to 13 international members of the World Transplant Games Federation Council in London yesterday. (Monday 4 July).
The World Transplant Games Federation Council members voted following the formal presentations and NewcastleGateshead was confirmed as the successful candidate last night.
Andy Eddy, Chairman of Transplant Sport, the charity which organises the annual British Transplant Games, said: “I was pleased to back NewcastleGateshead as the British nomination for the World Transplant Games 2019 and am delighted that we have won. The event will provide an important platform to raise awareness of the need to increase organ donation on a national and international stage.
“As a transplant recipient and a competitor in the British Transplant Games, I know first-hand the role sport can play in building confidence and improving quality of life. The Games provide a great opportunity to highlight transplantation and celebrate the gift of life enjoyed by transplantees.”
The World Transplant Games will take place in NewcastleGateshead from 17 – 24 August 2019 and is expected to attract up to 3,000 participants (competitors and supporters) from more than 60 different countries around the world. NewcastleGateshead also hopes to secure the largest participation from any single nation, by attracting over 700 members of Team Great Britain, and is seeking to host an International Symposium on Transplantation at the same time. Together, the World Transplant Games and the proposed symposium will contribute in excess of an estimated £4m to the local economy.
The NewcastleGateshead World Transplant Games bid was developed through a partnership approach led and co-ordinated by NewcastleGateshead Initiative (destination marketing agency for NewcastleGateshead) and MLS (the event management company involved in co-ordinating the British Transplant Games) in support of the official bidding organisation Transplant Sport UK. Other key partners include: Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Westfield Health and Graham Wylie (chair of the local organising committee).
Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “As the spiritual home of transplantation – with doctors and facilities here that have led pioneering work in transplantation for many years – we were inspired by the success of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games in 2015.
“Our bid highlighted these medical credentials as well as our connectivity, track record of hosting world-class sporting events and the fantastic venues and facilities that we can offer as a host city. But, as importantly, we focussed on what would really set us apart. Our ambition is to host a truly visible games – with events and activities taking place at indoor and outdoor venues in the very heart of the city and with an exciting cultural and social programme that athletes, visitors and local communities alike can enjoy. This unique approach has clearly paid off and we very much look forward to welcoming participants from around the world in 2019.”
Graham Wylie, chair of the local organising committee for the British Transplant Games in 2015 and for the 2019 World Transplant Games bid team, said: “Houston was a formidable competitor and we had to develop a very compelling case for NewcastleGateshead. With the support and hard work of all our local bidding partners this is exactly what we did – and what a great achievement to be awarded the 2019 World Transplant Games.
“Being involved with the British Transplant Games was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Last year we delivered the most successful Games ever; more than 850 UK transplant athletes and 2,500 spectators came together for a four day celebration of sport, powered by the gift of life.
“As the host destination for the World Games we can now galvanise support across the destination and we’re confident that we can deliver a truly memorable event, raise awareness of transplantation and encourage more people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register than ever before.”
Around 6,500 people in the UK are currently on the transplant waiting list and every day around three people who could have benefitted from a transplant die because there aren’t enough organ donors. In addition, there is a need for those on the NHS Organ Donor Register to share their wishes. Currently 42% of families refuse to provide consent following the death of a loved one, mostly because they did not know their loved one’s wishes – further limiting the availability of much needed organs for transplantation.
Councillor Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council, said: "This is fantastic news for the North East, once again confirming our ability to attract and host world class events. I know NewcastleGateshead will put on a superb event, not only raising the profile of transplantation but ensuring the competitors and supporters from around the world have a brilliant and memorable stay with us."

Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “It is fantastic news that the NewcastleGateshead bid to host the World Transplant Games has been successful and like the rest of the city I am looking forward to welcoming athletes from across the world.

“We have huge experience in hosting major sporting events and we can promise all the participants and their supporters a warm Geordie welcome and an experience they will never forget. I hope the efforts of those involved in bringing the games to NewcastleGateshead and the sporting displays on the field and track help to raise the profile of organ donation on a global stage.”

In 1987 the World Transplant Games Federation – whose purpose is to visibly demonstrate the benefits of successful organ transplantation, work to increase public awareness of its success and thereby increase organ donation rates – was officially formed to drive forward the Games as a vehicle to achieve these objectives. The Summer World Transplant Games now take place every two years and the Winter Games in the intervening years. 
The competitors are unique in that each one of them is alive and well as a result of a successful organ transplant. The Games embrace all ages, anyone from 4 - 80 years old who qualifies is welcome to participate, and there are over 50 events to suit all capabilities including athletics, 10 pin bowling, swimming, racquet sports, golf, volleyball, lawn bowls and cycling.
The World Transplant Games was last staged in the UK in 1995 when Manchester hosted the event.
Media contact
Kathie Wilcox, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, 07766 993925,

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