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News from the Kidney Services at Guy's and King's

Artwork unveiled to honour organ donors

Rowan Williams, Ted Harrison, and Alan Titchmarsh unveil artwork

Rowan Williams, Ted Harrison, and Alan Titchmarsh at the unveiling of the artwork

A new piece of artwork was unveiled at Guy's Hospital on Easter Sunday by Alan Titchmarsh MBE in honour of those who have donated organs and helped save the lives of others. It was blessed by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams of Ostermouth.

The Cherry Tree was created by Ted Harrison, an artist and kidney patient, to mark 25 years since he received a kidney transplant at Guy's. It is made out of stainless steel and forms a cherry tree that also resembles a kidney.

Alan Titchmarsh, gardener, broadcaster and novelist, said at the unveiling "there is no gift that any human can bestow on another that is greater then the gift of life."

Lord Williams said "organ donation is about bodies connecting with each other. Perhaps nothing is more important in society today than recognising that we are connected with one another. Easter is a particularly good time to remember these connections that make us a human family."

Ted Harrison explained that a cherry tree had been planted several years ago in honour of his donor and although he did not know the name of the donor he had corresponded with their family anonymously.  At the unveiling Ted said "I'm hugely pleased  to have the chance to express in art my gratitude to the donor - the friend I never knew."

Mr Geoff Koffman, transplant surgeon was also present, Geoff said "huge advances have been made in kidney transplantation. We now regularly see transplants lasting a quarter of a century or more. However in the UK three people die each day while in need of an organ and there are currently around 10,000 people in need of an organ transplant. It remains as crucial as ever for people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register."

Anyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register, age is not a barrier, neither are most medical conditions. For more information visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk