The family of an Eastbourne man who gave the ultimate gift of life through organ donation has been honoured at an award ceremony in Brighton.
The Order of St John award for organ donation, run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, has been presented to the families and loved ones of those who saved and improved people’s lives through organ donation.
The private award ceremony was held at St John Ambulance, Hollingbury, on 23 October 2015 with the awards presented by Juliet Smith, High Sheriff of East Sussex.
Hundreds of families are attending regional ceremonies across the UK between September and December to receive the award in memory of their loved ones.
There are a total of 15 award recipients in the county, with 11 presented at the ceremony in Brighton. Some families opted to receive the award by post.
Linda Cammell, from Eastbourne, received the award on behalf of her husband John Cammell at the ceremony in Brighton.
Linda Smith, from Hailsham, who received the award on behalf of her husband George Smith.
NHS Blood and Transplant and the Order of St John are keen to recognise the incredible gift that donors and their families have made by donating their organs to give hope and save and improve the lives of others.
Last year, between April 2014 and March 2015, the number of deceased organ donors in the UK dropped for the first time in 11 years. Despite this fall, the Order of St John honours the 1,282 people in the UK who donated their organs after death, leading to thousands of patients’ lives being saved or transformed.
NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for others to be inspired by this selfless act. Everyone in the UK is urged to discuss organ donation with their families and share their decision about what they would do if called on to donate.
Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “The Order of St John award scheme has been running for the last two years. We have been overwhelmed by the pride and experiences shared by the hundreds of families who have accepted the award on their loved one’s behalf.
“These families deserve this honour and recognition to mark their loved ones life-saving gifts. We hope their bravery will inspire others to talk about their own decision with people close to them and record their intention to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”