Some of Sunderland’s most famous landmarks will be illuminated in red, white and blue to celebrate the World Transplant Games coming to the north east.
The structures that will be lit in the patriotic colours include the Penshaw Monument, Seaburn Lighthouse, Northern Spire Bridge and Fulwell Mill. Keel Square, Market Square and High Street West are also due to be illuminated.
The lights will be switched on at dusk on Saturday 17th August.
The World Transplant Games – also known as the Transplant Olympics – will be staged in the north east from Saturday 17th to Friday 24th August.
Though most of the events will be held in Newcastle and Gateshead, Sunderland will be hosting the cycling at Hetton Lyons Country Park, the swimming at Sunderland Aquatic Centre and ten-pin bowling at Hollywood Bowling Washington.
All those taking part in the games are recipients of organ or tissue transplants or donors or their families. The competitors range in age from six to 84 and hail from 59 countries, including some as far afield as Kenya, Nepal and Mongolia.
The events at the World Transplant Games include athletics, basketball, cycling, swimming and volleyball.
All the Sunderland events are free for spectators, with the swimming taking place on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st August, the cycling on Tuesday 20th August, and the ten-pin bowling on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th August.
Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for communities and culture, Cllr John Kelly, said, “We’re delighted to be able to show our support for the World Transplant Games and organ donations by lighting up key landmarks.”
“The games are about raising awareness of organ donation and encouraging more people to sign up as organ donors, so anything that helps spread the word about this very important cause has to be a good thing.”
“They’re also about celebrating a second chance of living life to the full, human courage and physical fitness. And each and every one of the inspiring athletes taking part will have their own amazing life stories to tell, so I think this is also a fitting opportunity to honour them and their achievements.”
Cllr Kelly added, “I’m hoping the people of our city will turn out to watch the swimming, cycling and ten-pin bowling competitions for free at Sunderland Aquatic Centre, Hetton Lyons Country Park and Hollywood Bowling Washington and to cheer the athletes on and give them a warm Sunderland welcome.”
“I also hope they’ll be inspired by the athletes taking part to sign up to become organ donors and discuss their wishes with their loved ones because that’s what the games are all about.”
At any one time, there are about 5,900 people in the UK waiting for a transplant and an average of three people die each day who could have been helped by organ donation.
To sign up for the NHS Donor Register, please go to https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/.
To learn more about the World Transplant Games, please visit http://worldtransplantgames.org/.