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Grecians to back Exmouth dad's donor bid

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 03, 2013

By Fran McElhone

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EXETER City is supporting an Exmouth father's campaign to get more people to sign up to become organ donors.

From noon until kick-off at the Grecians' match against Southend United on Saturday, January 12, Steve Gazzard and friends will be hosting the sign-up event at the Red Square.

The Echo has followed the brave fight of Mr Gazzard's daughter Sarah Wright, a mother-of-three and avid city supporter, who recently died aged 36 while waiting for a double lung transplant for a chronic lung condition. In her death, she gave life to three other people – her kidneys and liver were donated to others who would have died without them.

Currently the donor system requires people to opt-in. Mr Gazzard is adamant that if the Government changed the scheme to an opt-out system more lives could be saved.

Mr Gazzard, who has also long supported the Grecians, said he wrote to Andy Gillard, City's operations manager, who immediately agreed to the sign-up event.

Steve Perryman, director of football, and Paul Tisdale, the Grecians manager, previously pledged their support to a fundraising cycle ride from Exmouth to Topsham organised by Sarah's 10-year-old son Harry in aid of the British Lung Foundation.

Mr Gazzard said he was very grateful to the pair for their support and hopes as many people as possible will sign-up on the day.

"The support from the club has been wonderful," he said. "You wouldn't get it everywhere but Exeter is a very family-orientated club."

Mr Gazzard said he received a letter from Mr Tisdale expressing his condolences after Sarah's death.

"It shows how community spirited the club is," Mr Gazzard continued. "However many sign up on the day, it will be great."

The British Lung Foundation said there has been an increase of people signing up to the scheme in the Exmouth area following news about Sarah's condition several months ago.

A fund-raising event is being staged at Franklins Café, Bar and Restaurant in Exmouth on Tuesday, January 15.

Funds will go towards an MRI scanner, at Harefield Hospital where Sarah died.

Prizes for the draw would be gratefully received and should be dropped into Franklins.

To sign the petition to change the organ donor scheme to opt-out, go to http://.epeti tions.direct.gov.uk/peti tions/38220. To register as an organ donor visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk/ukt or call 0300 123 2323.

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