TODAY Bolton welcomes hundreds of inspirational athletes to take part in four days of sporting action for the Westfield Health British Transplant Games.
Crowds of spectators are expected across the weekend at Bolton’s sporting venues, which will play host to 18 different sports ranging from cycling and curling to table tennis and ten pin bowling, featuring athletes who have undergone life saving organ transplants.
The event is set to be the largest in the history of the British Transplant Games, with 752 registered athletes from 54 hospital teams taking part in front of more than 2,000 spectators, volunteers and supporters.
It is hoped that the event could provide Bolton with a £2 million economic boost.
Chairman of the British Transplant Games, Bolton Cllr Anthony Connell, said: “The games are an inspirational event, which celebrate the courage of athletes, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them and their supporters to Bolton.”
The event will kick off today with archery at Bolton Arena from 11am, before snooker players cue up at Bolton Snooker Club at 1.30pm.
There is also Lawn Bowls at Bolton Bowling Club from 1.30pm and squash at George Carnall at the same time.
This evening, about 2,000 people are expected to pack into Victoria Square from 5pm for the official opening ceremony — where local music acts will take to the stage, before the athletes parade into the square and the official British Transplant Games torch is lit.
Among the sports on Friday’s billing will be a golf tournament with more than 60 players at Regent Park Golf Club. Teeing off from 9am, the golfers, who represent different transplant teams, will compete in a mixed tournament.
Events will continue across the weekend and on Sunday fans will pack into Bolton Arena for a day of athletics, before a gala dinner at the Bolton Whites Hotel brings proceedings to a close.
A major aim of the British Transplant Games is to encourage people to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register.
There are currently about 7,000 people waiting for an organ in the UK and three people die each day waiting for a match. To sign the register visit organdonation.nhs.uk.
Thursday, August 7:
Snooker at Bolton Snooker Club, 1.30pm to 4.30pm.
Archery at Bolton Arena, 11.30am to 4.30pm
Opening ceremony in Victoria Square 6.30pm to 9pm.
Friday, August 8:
Badminton at Bolton Arena, 9am to 1pm
Golf tournament at Regent Park Golf Club teeing off from 9am
Volleyball at Bolton Arena, 1.30pm to 4.30pm
Tennis at Bolton Arena, 5pm to 8.30pm
Darts at Bolton Whites Hotel, 8.30pm to 10.30pm
Saturday, August 9:
Table tennis at Bolton Lads and Girls Club, 8.30am to 5pm
Adult five-a-side football at Bolton Arena, 1.30pm to 5pmSwimming at Bolton One, 1.30pm to 5pm
The Bolton News Donor Run at Leverhulme Park, 6pm to 8.30pm
Sunday August 10:
Track and field at Bolton Arena, 9am to 5pm
Celebratory gala dinner at Bolton Whites Hotel, 6.30pm to 1am
Opening ceremony running order
5.00pm Teams start to arrive on Corporation Street at Market Place
5.00pm Opening ceremony starts in Victoria Square
5.15pm Lime Chase perform in Victoria Square
5.30pm Bright Shapes perform in Victoria Square
5.30pm Gifted Organs perform in Market Place
5.42pm Trish Chantelle performs in Victoria Square
5.55pm Little Voices perform in Victoria Square
6.15pm The Rock Choir perform in Victoria Square
6.30pm Parade of approximately 800 athletes from Market Place to Victoria Squareto commence led by Swaminarayan Gadi Pipe Band
7.00pm Councillor Connell, Chair of the Transplant Games, does public welcome
7.05pm MC introduces Transplant Games flag and flame. Bolton athlete and Deputy Mayor of Bolton on stage to receive flag and flame. Flag ceremony to include: Kaleigh Starkey – Manchester Childrens, Connor Catterall – Manchester Childrens, James Colbeck – Manchester Adults & Andy McGarry – Wythenshawe. Lighting flame: Ayesha Brookes – Manchester Childrens, Zoe Dixon – Manchester Adults, John Fort – Wythenshawe. Athletes’ oath read by Bill Noble - Wythenshawe
7.10pm President of Transplant Sport, Andrew Eddy, declares the Games officially open
7.15pm Final performance on stage by Rock Choir
7.30pm Finale with confetti canons