BOLTON’S hugely successful hosting of the British Transplant Games will be “very difficult to beat” — according to event organisers.
Over the weekend, hundreds of transplant athletes have run, walked, batted, thrown and swam their way to glory at facilities across the borough.
As the curtain came down on the showpiece event yesterday, following a rain-hit day of athletics, Bolton and its residents received fulsome praise for putting on a great show.
Andrew Eddy, the president of Transplant Sport, who battled wind and rain to pick up a bronze medal in the 1,500 metres race yesterday, said: “These have been a huge success — Bolton has done us all proud.
“We are all really grateful for the support we have received from the local community here, with local volunteers and the excellent facilities the town has — the legacy of the Bolton games will certainly live on to future events.”
Mr Eddy, who had a life-saving liver transplant five years ago, reserved special praise for The Bolton News Donor Run which took place in Leverhulme Park on Saturday.
He said: “I, along with many others who took part in that, consider it to be one of the best donor runs we have ever had.”
The games saw scores of athletes delivering excellent personal performances, including Stoneclough superstar Beth Morris who followed previous successes with another haul of medals, including golds in cycling and swimming.
She said: “I was a bit nervous because this was the first time I had competed in the adults section — but I am over the moon with what I have won.
“It felt really good to race in front of a home crowd. There was maybe a bit more pressure because I’m local but I really enjoyed it.”
Beth, who is aged18 and underwent a bone marrow transplant at the age of five, is now hoping her efforts will be enough to see her named in the British squad who will travel to Argentina next summer.
Another local athlete taking part was 18-year old Adam Bhaiji, who competed in the archery, the 100-metre sprint and the three kilometre mini-marathon at Leverhulme Park.
Adam, who is from the Crompton area and had a kidney transplant just last year, said: “Bolton has done a great job this weekend and it felt great to be competing at a home games.
“I have loved meeting a lot of other transplant recipients and I also caught up with the surgeon who performed my operation.”
Every event has featured people who have overcome incredible challenges to be able to take part in the games, none more so than seven-year-old Connie Taylor, from Northern Ireland.
When she was just 13 months old, she suffered multi-organ failure and her parents were told that their daughter had only 6-9 months to live.
Little Connie hung on and underwent an amazing operation to transplant her liver, stomach, pancreas and bowel, saving her life.
After winning silver in the badminton on Friday, Connie’s mum, Anna said: “This weekend has been amazing for Connie. The buzz she has got and the confidence of meeting other people has been incredible.”
Last night, as events concluded with a glitzy gala dinner at the Bolton Whites Hotel, Bolton Council leader Cliff Morris issued a huge thank-you for everyone’s contribution.
He said: “It really has been a great weekend and I think everyone has enjoyed their stay in Bolton.
“I have got nothing but praise for the British Transplant Games and everyone involved.”
- To join the NHS Organ Donor Register: call 0300 1232323, text SAVE to 841118 or visit organdonation.nhs.uk.
Natasha Murphy, aged six, cheers on her mum in the open lawns bowls competition
Vikkey Murphy from Derby at the open lawn bowls competition