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Celebrating the gift of life – memorial garden opens at Maidstone Hospital

This Organ Donation Week (26 September to 2 October), a new Organ and Tissue Donation Memorial garden opened at Maidstone Hospital. The quiet green space celebrates the generosity of those who have donated their organs and tissues and is a place to remember those who have been sadly lost.

The centrepiece of the courtyard garden is a pergola with scented Jasmine planted at each corner. Raised planters with seasonal flowers are located around the boundary of the garden with bespoke wooden hearts, dedicated in memory of loved ones who have donated organs. Three benches are sited towards the rear of the garden, offering a place for contemplation and reflection for families, visitors and staff alike.

The garden was officially opened on Tuesday 27 September by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust Chief Executive, Miles Scott, and Dan Moult, Consultant in Anaesthetics and Intensive Care and the Trust Lead for Critical Care. Other guests included donor families, a cornea transplant recipient, NHS Blood and Transplant Team Manager for the South East Organ Donation Services Team, and Trust staff including members of the Organ Donation Committee, Theatre and ICU staff, Chaplaincy and the Grounds and Gardens team.

Miles Scott, Chief Executive, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said: “It was an honour to be asked to officially open the memorial garden at Maidstone Hospital alongside our incredible clinical teams, and also have the opportunity to speak with families of those who have selflessly donated organs.

“Being an organ and tissue donor is a generous decision that can save or greatly enhance the lives of other people, but this relies on donors and their families agreeing to donate their organ or tissue. Knowing what your relative wanted, helps families support their decision around organ donation at what is often a difficult time.

“We need more people to register their decision and talk with their loved ones about organ donation to give them the certainty they need to support their organ donation decision”.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We are very grateful to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust for its support during Organ Donation Week.

“Every day across the UK there are thousands of patients and their families, waiting for that all important life-saving call. Yet, this is often only possible as a result of another family receiving some of the hardest news they might ever have to hear.

“With the increase in the number of people waiting for transplants, it’s more important than ever to register your organ donation decision and make it known to your family and friends.

“We urge all family members of all ages to take a moment this Organ Donation Week to register and share your decision.”

To find out more and register your decision, visit the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family. Users of the NHS app, can also use this to record, check or amend their details or decision.

Every day across the UK someone dies waiting for an organ transplant. One donor can save or transform up to nine lives through organ donation and save and transform even more by donating tissue. Currently only 45% of people have recorded an organ donation decision.