A memorial is being unveiled at Darlington Memorial Hospital to
honour those members of the local community who have donated organs
at the hospital.
A stone memorial with brass hearts will be placed in the sensory
garden in the grounds of Darlington Memorial Hospital in
recognition of those patients who have become organ donations, and
as a memorial for their loved ones.
A short service is being held at the hospital tomorrow, Tuesday
26 November to formally unveil the memorial and which will be
attended by some of the loved ones whose relatives have been organ
donors over the past nine years.
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
have donated organs at this hospital since June 2010 but also to
give thanks to future donors will also be given the opportunity to
be named and remembered on the memorial.
"From our very first donor, Alan Shelton a local man from
Darlington who's family are here today, to donors from all across
our region, donors from Darlington, Shildon, Bowburn, Shotton
Colliery, Barnard Castle, Middlesborough and Richmond and other
places, to our most recent donor a 29 year old young lady from
Darlington, people in our community who make this the most precious
of gifts continue to inspire everyone in involved in the service,
doctors, nurses, and specialist surgeons and specialist nurses and
the administrators and Directors of The Trust and the wider
"We remain in awe of the generosity of the donors and
particularly the courage of the families to see through their loved
"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.
"I believe these numbers reflect the inherent kindness of people
from the north east and in particular in our local community. It is
no surprise to me that given our shared history and stoic character
that donor rates in the northeast are amongst the highest in the
"However it's not enough and still, people will die whilst
waiting for a transplant, and many others have to endure difficult
and sometimes painful and distressing treatment whilst on the
"And so the donation service continues to encourage people to
join the donor list. The service continues to treasure those who do
sign up and the families who so often in the most difficult and
tragic circumstances agree to implement their loved ones wishes and
allow donation to take place.
"The Trust decided to build a memorial to recognise and
celebrate and remember these people, creating a place of
remembrance and reflection where donor families can come and be
reminded of what an amazing thing they did for others in
The sculpture has been funded through the Trust's Charity and
was commissioned from local craftsmen. The design was largely the
transfusion specialist nurses and it is made from local stone,
shaped and hand carved by Alan Richardson a local stone mason from
East Hedleyhope, near Tow Law, the ceramics which will eventually
wrap round the memorial and name the donor should the family agree
have been hand crafted by Petra Lloyd from Croft and the cast
signage was made by Philip & Andrea Shardlow a husband and wife
team from Whitby.
Samantha Ward lost her mum 12 months ago and attends the
unveiling in recognition of her mum's wishes to be an organ donor.
Samantha said: "We are here today in recognition of our Mam and
"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
"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 stone memorial is located in the grounds at the front of the
hospital and the Trust is now working on plans to develop a similar
memorial at University Hospital of North Durham.
Published 26th November 2019
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community