Steve dancing in the streets of Exmouth after opt-in law moves closer

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 March 2018

Diane Love, Steve Gazzard, Alison Brockbank proprietor The Bicton Inn, Michelle Furmston BAY FM, Sarah Mendham Manager Boots Opticians, Exmouth Town Crier Roger Bourgein.

Diane Love, Steve Gazzard, Alison Brockbank proprietor The Bicton Inn, Michelle Furmston BAY FM, Sarah Mendham Manager Boots Opticians, Exmouth Town Crier Roger Bourgein.

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An Exmouth organ donor campaigner said he was dancing in the streets when he heard that his dream had moved a step closer.

From left: Cllr Jeff Trail, BEM, deputy mayor of Exmouth, Cllr Steve Gazzard - the driving force behind the town's organ donor campaign - and Roger Bougein, town crier, at the Transplant Awareness Day in The Strand. Picture: Paul Strange.From left: Cllr Jeff Trail, BEM, deputy mayor of Exmouth, Cllr Steve Gazzard - the driving force behind the town's organ donor campaign - and Roger Bougein, town crier, at the Transplant Awareness Day in The Strand. Picture: Paul Strange.

Steve Gazzard made a promise to his daughter, Sarah Wright, before she died in 2012 – he would continue to campaign for automatic opting in to organ donation.

Sarah died at the age of 36 while waiting for a double lung transplant and since then Steve has been pushing for a change in the law meaning people would have to opt out if they didn’t want their organs to be used to save others after their death.

The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill 2017-19 has recently been passed through to the committee stage after a second reading, moving it a step closer to becoming law.

Steve said he was holding one of his weekly organ donor sign up sessions in The Magnolia Centre when he heard the news.

He said: “When someone rang me up and told me it had passed through the second reading, I had a little dance around my table.

“I am over the moon and the response I had from people saying they had lobbied their ministers was very encouraging.

“When I lost Sarah, I made two promises to her – I would carry on signing people up and campaign for a new donor system and hopefully that will happen next year.

“If it does, it will be fantastic tribute to Sarah.”

Since Sarah died, Steve has been holding regular organ donor sign ups and fundraisers for the British Lung Foundation.

Earlier this year, he presented a cheque for more than £2,500 to representatives from the national charity. He presented the money, raised throughout 2017 along with representatives of organisations that have helped raised that total.

Since 2012 Steve has created more than 4,000 new donors.

He believes Exmouth has had a significant impact on the ‘opt in’ campaign. “Exmouth has played a huge part in my estimation in hopefully getting this,” he said.

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