NewcastleGateshead Games 2015
30th July – 2nd August
Team Managers Report
I was very proud to be involved in the LOC – Local Organising committee for the games this year and it was a great insight onto how many man hours were put in by the two councils and the LOC to ensure that the games ran smoothly.
We had a great time at the games and with this being a home event it was even more special to the team.
A record 850 transplant competitors took part this year with supporters taking the numbers up to 2500 attending the games.
We were very fortunate to get a lot of media coverage locally and nationally and hopefully this will raise the profile or Organ Donation and increase the amount of people willing to donate family member’s organs when needed.
We had 68 competitors in our team which is the largest number so far.
The games opened on the Thursday with the Archery as usual being the first event.
We had a record number of people entering the Archery with a lot of completely new members coming into to the sport at an experienced level with their own bows and arrows.
12 members of the team originally registered and after pull outs we still had 10 members taking part, with 7 competing for the first time.
Adele Lambert won a Gold on her first attempt, David John got a Silver and Lisa Shrive got a Silver. Our regular archer Sue Wrightson took home the gold. Mark Print also got a Bronze in his first attempt in Archery. Well done to all our Archers.
We also had competitors taking part in the snooker with Liam Waterworth bringing home the Gold in the snooker as his first time for a medal. Liam was absolutely thrilled to get Gold and all his family celebrated with him. Paul Kirsop got a Bronze and well done to Alan Wheeldon who took part on the games for his first time only 7 months after his transplant. Chris Richardson missed out on a medal but enjoyed taking part.
Liam winning his firs Gold medal in Snooker
We all met in the evening to take part in the opening ceremony at Old Eldon Square.
It was a great atmosphere and we marched in teams to the brass band at the front. We walked through Northumberland street with the public stopping to watch us parade.
Holly Van Geffen was a new member to the team only 5 months post double lung transplant and she held the Freeman Flag and lead the team in the parade.
The parade ended at the city hall where we all went inside to start the opening ceremony.
As the home teams Freeman and the Newcastle teams sat on the stage.
Picture of Freeman team on stage
Graham Wylie as Games Local Organising Committee Chairman welcomed everyone to the NewcastleGateshead games followed by Andy Eddy from Transplant Sport.
The two Mayors of Newcastle and Gateshead came on stage to be handed the flag from the Mayor of Bolton to symbolise the handing over of the games from one city to another.
Cheryl Myers from the Freeman Team was one of the flag bearers
I was very proud to read the Athletes Oath to the audience in the city hall.
Picture of me reading the athletes oath with flag bearers behind
On behalf of all competitors in the Westfield Health British Transplant Games,
I promise that we will respect and abide by the rules and principles of Transplant Sports UK
We will strive to give our best in the spirit of sportsmanship ,
For the honour of our team and in thanksgiving to our donors and their families.
Christopher Richardson and Ewan Smith represented the Freeman Adults and Kids with the Newcastle team to light the opening flame. Christopher was very proud to light the flame.
Picture of the lighting the flame
After that Joe McElderry came on and sang ‘The Climb’ then ‘Don’t Stop believing’ by journey.
We all then left ad large group of us headed back to the hotel to enjoy a team meal.
Friday was a very busy day with the first full official day of events.
The fishing was taking place at Leazes Park, the table tennis was taking place at Gateshead College,
We did well in the ladies group for table tennis with Joan Whitney, Judith Burgess and Maggi Cowman and Wendy Lingham all getting a medal, Richard Caulkin and Stephan Moffat and a new member Stuart Watt also took home a medal in the table tennis .
Some of the table tennis team
The Ten pin bowling took place at the Metro centre, this was a very big event for us this year with 17 people from the team taking part this year and 10 of them being new competitors. Doreen Collingwood got a gold in the ten pin bowling and it was her first time at the games this year. Alan Hodgson also got a gold.
The Volleyball also took place on the Friday at Gateshead Leisure centre. 12 teams took part with Freeman having two of them.
We did very well and the A team came away with the Bronze medal.
Well done to everyone who took part in the Volleyball this year.
The cycling was the next event after the volleyball at Leazes Park, we had a large team with 16 cyclists taking Part in the two events. There was also a large amount of people taking part in the whole cycling event this year. It was great to see the children doing the cycling event for the first time this year. Well done to Rachel Hooley who took part for the first time in the kids team.
The course was quite fast this year with a long, large hill going onto a very steep decline and two sharp corners.
Holy Van Geffen took part in the 5k event this year which was very commendable only 5 months post-transplant. We also had 8 new members to the cycling team this year.
Well done to everyone who took part in the cycling event.
I was too tired to go to the Darts and social event after the cycling but was told it was a very enjoyable event and Kez Greenwood brought home the Bronze in the darts for our team.
Saturday is also a busy day with the swimming events for kids and adults taking place all day and the 3K walk and Donor run also taking place. The badminton also takes place.
The Fhlta did very well in the speed 3k walk with a clean sweep on the podium with Doreen Collingnwood getting Bronze, Myself getting silver and Amanda Henchliffe getting the Gold. New team member Barry Banfield did very well to take home the Silver in his first Transplant Sport event ever.
I am very thankful to Wendy Lingham who pulled me round the walk this year and helped me get the Silver medal with her encouragement.
3k/5k Walking team
The Badminton was also taking place on the morning. Well done to our badminton players and Judith, Maggi and Paul who also got medals.
Please see Adele’s report about the swimming below:
Sunderland Aquatic Centre 2nd August 2015
This year the team had five new members who were all competing for the first time as well as three members from last year.
• Robert Hodgkiss started off for the team winning a silver medal for the 50mtr Freestyle
• Nikki Graham was next up in the women’s 50mtrs Freestyle and won a silver.
• Derek Airey swam in the 100mtrs breaststroke winning the Gold and Peter ware also competed.
• Adele Lambert and Debbie Burdon competed in the 100mtrs breaststroke with Adele getting the silver.
• Robert took part in the 50mtr Backstroke and won a Gold medal.
• Derek, Peter and Jon Comb competed again in the 50mtr breaststroke with Derek winning a gold. Jon achieved a PB
• Lisa Shrive, Louise McLellan, Debbie Burdon and Adele Lambert competed in the 50mtr Breaststroke.
The team did a great job the new members were very nervous at the start and also very tired from the previous days competing.
They all did a fantastic job Louise McLellan was the pocket rocket for the girls and swam in the quickest time is there no end to her talents.
It was good to have the newcomers in the team and the support for each and every member was great. I hope that they will all be part of the Freeman Swimming Team in the years to come.
Go team Freeman.
Many thanks to Adele who managed the swimming and did the report for me.
The Donor walk is a great celebration event for the families and we were very fortunate to have most of our new families taking part in this event together this year, it was a great course up and down the Quayside then over the Millennium bridge to finish. Over 20 competitors with family members took part.
We were very fortunate to have Jenny Bjork from Sweden join our team as a guest this year and Jenny was very pleased to win the Silver in the Donor Run.
Donor Run team
Sunday – Track Day
We were very fortunate to have the Gateshead Stadium for the venue for the track day this year. The weather mostly managed to hold off making it a more enjoyable day.
We had competitors taking part in the field events such as Shot putt, Long Jump, High Jump, Ball Throw, Javelin and Discuss.
Many of our new competitor’s took part in these events for the first time.
John Docherty did very well by taking part in the long jump and although took a large tumble managed to come up smiling.
We also had competitors in the track events such as 100m, 800m,1500m, and the relay.
Christine and Maggi and Sid did very well by taking part in the over 60’s 100m, this was the first time that Maggi had competed in this event. Well done Christine and Maggi and Sid.
Well done to Louise Mclellen who took part in the 800m and won a bronze in her first games.
Paul Woodward ran an amazing 100m which had me in tears. Paul is a very good long standing friend of mine and to see him virtually fall out of bed to go on to win the Gold was one of my highlights of this year’s games for me personally. I think he actually amazed himself when he realised he had won the race.
It was very emotional to see the Live Donor relays and speak to the people/families who were taking part.
One family I met who were taking part in the relay, the sister had donated the kidney to the little boy and he was also taking part in the childrens races
Live Donor family. Recipient – little boy in the middle, Donor – Sister on right
Our relay team also did very well with first timer Holly Van Geffen also taking part in this event as our woman with Richard Caulkin, Simon Ripley and Stuart Kaye.
Relay picture – first handover
Can I also say a special thank you to the volunteers who helped at the games. They were very friendly, encouraging and supportive.
Also special thanks to the team of physio’s who gave up their time for the weekend to help out the injured athletes, I used the services myself twice over the Saturday and Sunday and it was really helpful.
Closing Ceremony/Gala Dinner
The closing ceremony and Gala Dinner took place in the Sage this year which was a wonderful setting for such an event.
The ceremony was held in the Great Hall 1
Graham Wylie led the ceremony with Jeremy Kyle helping out backstage.
We were very proud when Graham mentioned Christopher Richardson and said of him,
”The last Super Hero is a chap called Chris Richardson, this is his second games and he is still to win a medal, he has tried very hard and been smiling every day, taking in loads of friendly gestures from everybody and new fans of his, well Chris you have now at last got a Gold medal for being the happiest and friendliest person here this week”
Chris had to go up onto stage to collect his Gold medal from Graham, then he went into the green room with Jeremy Kyle
This was another memorable moment for me as Chris’s friend and team manager and one where the hankies were definitely needed, I am so proud to have Chris on our team and so glad finally his hard work has been recognized and rewarded,
Well done to our own retired coordinator Lynne Holt for being nominated and won the Peter Griffin award.
Well done to fellow team mates Kez Greenwood and Debbie Burdon who were brave enough to go up with Jeremy Kyle and do a spoof show along with 2 other contestants. They showed they were game for a laugh and could give it as well as take it.
Chris Richardson was voted for by the team to receive the Graham Marsh memorial Shield
Chis Richardson being awarded the Graham Marsh shield by Sports Manager – Vicky Pettersen and Chairman – Derek Airey
Well done to all the Freeman Competitors who took part in the games, its nice to win medals but its not the most important thing. Being fit and healthy enough to take part in any physical activity is the main thing, many of our new athletes were seriously ill not that long ago.
Derek Riley and Holly Van Geffen handed over the flag to Liverpool.
You have all achieved amazing things just by being here and being able to take part.
You are all winners regardless of your ability.
Please remember that and embrace all you can do and be the best YOU can be. That is all I ask.
Hope to see you all next year.
Live Life, Love Life x
Well that is the end of my write up.
Thanks to everyone who helped out with the games,the volunteers,the physios, the marshals,the councils,the sponsors and mostly to the competitors and supporters who made it special.
Once again i have met up with old friends and made plenty of new ones.
I was proud to compete along side of you all and even more proud to call you all my team mates.
Well done to everyone who came to take part for their first games, i hope we will see you back through the year and if not definitely in Liverpool.
Special thanks to our donor families who said yes and made all this possible.
See you all in Liverpool in 2016.
Medal table to follow.