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Emotional cathedral opening ceremony for transplant games

transplant games opening
transplant games opening

Dancers, a Welsh male choir and an actor dressed up as Charles Dickens all helped to welcome athletes from across the country to Medway for the Westfield Health British Transplant Games.

Two thousand people packed into Rochester Cathedral on Thursday for the official opening ceremony.

The 600 athletes who will be competing in the Games paraded into the cathedral from Rochester Castle, to loud cheers from family and friends gathered inside.

They include teams from Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Oxford and Portsmouth.

All of them have received the gift of life thanks to a transplant, and the Games aims to showcase the benefits of organ donation and increase the number of people on the Organ Donor Register.

Lisa Innes, from Walderslade Woods and nine-year-old George Penhaligan, from Spendiff near Cooling, received the Transplant Games flag and torch on stage and the Games were officially declared open.

George, who needed a kidney transplant after contracting meningitis, appears on the front page of today's Medway Messenger to launch our coverage of the games.

Over the course of four days the athletes who have received an organ transplant will compete for medals in a variety of events, including track and field, swimming, badminton, tennis and snooker.

The majority of the events will be held at Medway Park in Gillingham, but Rainhman School for Girls (tennis), Deangate Ridge (golf) and Chatham Bowls Club will also be hosting sports.

Everything is free and members of the public are more than welcome to go along and watch.

The Games finish on Sunday with a day of track and field events.

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