Campaign goes to Westminster

10:29 07 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

09:35

Brixington Blues U10s had mixed fortunes in Exeter & District League meetings with Sidmouth opposition.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:40
A rugby themed easter egg trail is taking place along the Exe Estuary

A special Easter egg hunt inspired by the Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off along the Exe Estuary Trail on Saturday, March 28.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

Missing a possible eight first-team players, East Budleigh put up a brave performance at Heavitree last Saturday before losing 3-1.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

EXMOUTH Amateurs travelled to Witheridge on Saturday short of a few players, due to suspension, injury and later work commitments, but the 12 who left town returned with all three points.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:52

Brixington United U12s youth football team are looking for new players to strengthen their squad for next season.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:52

Budleigh Salterton make the short trip to Alphington this Saturday looking to end a losing streak.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:52

Budleigh Salterton lost 4-0 at Newtown as their winless season in the Premier Division gets closer to the end.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:52

Exmouth Amateurs Reserves beat Clyst Valley Reserves 3-2 at Warren View to stay clear of the bottom two in Division Three of the Devon and Exeter League.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 8°C

Most read

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder