Campaign goes to Westminster

PUBLISHED: 10:29 07 December 2012 | UPDATED: 15:01 12 December 2012

Steve Gazzard and Jacquie Spencer team manager for South West Organ donation

Steve Gazzard and Jacquie Spencer team manager for South West Organ donation

Archant

A campaigning Exmouth dad took his fight to save lives to the heart of Government this week, challenging MPs to change the law on organ donations.

Steve Gazzard, a town councillor, was quizzed by a panel of MPs, Lords, surgeons and NHS bosses at the House of Commons.

Last month, Steve’s daughter Sarah Wright lost her two-year battle with a chronic lung condition.

She was on the transplant waiting list but a suitable donor could not be found; there are 12 others like Sarah in East Devon also waiting for a transplant.

He says she could be alive today if the law was changed; the UK has amongst the lowest transplant rates in the western world.

He blames this on the policy of ‘opting in’ as a donor instead of people being listed at birth and then having to ‘opt out’.

Accompanied by Jacquie Spencer, the NHS team manager for Southwest organ donation team, he told Sarah’s story to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Transplantation.

Their goal is to boost donations by 50 per cent by 2013;

Over two Saturdays in The Strand, Sarah’s family signed up 110 new donors, while the town council has backed his campaign and last night (Wednesday) he asked the district council to do the same.

“The law needs to change; people are dying needlessly every year,” he told MPs.

He challenged them on the current system which allows a donor’s family to overturn a donor’s wishes.

“It should be treated like a will; only a court should be able to change their decision.

“There are 14 million donors in the UK but up to 40 per cent are overturned by the next of kin.”

He said that in Scotland professionals educated school children about becoming a donor: “When they get old enough they make up their own minds, this has seen a huge increase in people signing up.”

He told the Journal: “The chairman (Chris Williamson) said it was a very useful session, he was touched by the stories and it had given him food for thought.

“At first I was a bit sceptical, but overall I was impressed with the panels view and with how the chairman conducted it.

“I just hope that I have done my Sarah proud by telling her story.”

Jacquie Spencer said: “The most important thing is that people are talking about it.

“As a society we are really not very good about talking about death.

“Hopefully, from this, some positive actions will come out of it.”

0 comments

More from Exmouth Journal

11:04

There’s good news for Exmouth’s Famous Old Barrel pub, which has been closed since last October.

Read more
13:06

It is said that the sporting field can be a place where dreams come true and this was certainly proven to be the case at the Sandy Park home of Exeter Chiefs for a squad of 28 Exmouth RFC Under-6 players on the second Sunday of the year.

Read more
13:04

Withycombe Under-16s marched on in their Fishermen’s Cup campaign with a 48-5 victory over Paignton at Raleigh Park.

Read more
13:01

The East Devon cup competition draws have been made. The competitions are traditionally run after the halfway stage of the Macron Devon and Exeter League campaign and the semi-finals and finals of all three – Morrison Bell, Grandisson and Golesworthy – are played at the Washbrook Meadow home of Ottery St Mary.

Read more
13:01

Despite racing into a two-goal lead inside 13 minutes, East Budleigh Reserves had to settle for a share of the spoils when they entertained Culm United Reserves in a Macron League Division Eight meeting at Vicarage Road, writes Mark Auton.

Read more
13:00

Brixington Blues Under-11s were 3-1 winners when they took on Sidmouth Warriors in an Exeter and District Youth League meeting.

Read more

“We are going to find it very hard to balance our books without changing things significantly. We need teachers, but all the other things schools do – all the things that are not our statutory responsibility – we are looking at cutting. We are talking about the life chances of children being damaged,” said Exmouth’s Exeter Road head teacher Paul Gosling.

Read more
10:37

Exmouth Town’s worst fears were realised when their game at St Austell last Saturday was postponed due to their opponents’ continued interest in the Cornwall Senior Cup, writes John Dibsdall.

Read more
10:36

There was plenty of ‘girl power’ at Greenway Lane on Sunday as the Budleigh Salterton ladies wrapped up a ‘full-house’ of wins for the weekend for the football club as they defeated Ottery St Mary 6-4, writes SpursTom.

Read more

Devon and Cornwall residents are being polled on whether they would pay another £12 a year to ‘protect frontline policing’.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 2°C



Most read

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Streetlife


Show Job Lists


Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

Find planning applications


Follow us on Twitter