NEARLY 600 people in Greater Manchester are waiting for life-saving operations because of a shortage of organ donors.

Bolton people are urged to heed the advice of health chiefs and sign the organ donor register as part of National Transplant Week, which runs until July 13.

An appeal is being made by staff from New Start, a charity based in the transplant unit at Wythenshawe Hospital, in Victoria Square today, from 10am to 4pm. The Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Martin Donaghy, is set to be among those attending.

NHS Blood and Transplant is highlighting the number of people waiting for organs, as well as the 43 people who died last year because their wait went on too long.

The campaign’s message is stressing the need to tell loved ones of your intention to donate organs when you sign the register, as ultimately the decision rests with them.

The Bolton News is encouraging as many as possible to join the register with our Sign up to Save Lives campaign.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Last year 161 people living in Greater Manchester benefited from a life-saving transplant, thanks to families making the decision to donate when a loved one died, a decision that we know makes them incredibly proud.

“We know that families are much less likely to allow organ donation to go ahead if they don’t know it’s what their loved one wanted.

“To help more people we need everyone, even if you’re one of the 744,147 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in Greater Manchester, to tell those closest to you that you want to donate your organs.”

On average, three people a day die in need of an organ transplant because there are not enough organs available.

More lives would be saved if more families agreed to donate a loved one’s organs after death. Four out of 10 families do not give permission to donate when approached.

Janice Taylor, from New Start, said: “The day is to raise awareness and to get as many people as possible to sign up the organ donor register. We will be there all day with some patients who have received transplanted organs.”

The Bolton News launched its Sign Up To Save Lives campaign to coincide with the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, which will be taking place in Bolton from August 7 until August 10.

The Games are expected to feature hundreds of athletes — all of whom have undergone life-saving organ transplants — to compete in a range of sports, including archery, swimming, track and field events and darts.

During National Transplant Week, events are taking place across the country to encourage people to spell out their organ donation decision.

For more information about National Transplant Week visit To Sign up to Save Lives, go to the NHS organ donor register at or call 0300 1232323 or text SAVE to 62323.