British Transplant Games begins in Medway

Three people running on athletics track
Image caption The four-day competition is one of the largest annual multi-sport events in the UK

More than 500 patients given a life-saving major organ transplant have arrived in Kent for this year's British Transplant Games (BTG).

They will play various sports over four days at Medway Park in Gillingham and across Medway and north Kent.

The event began on Thursday with a parade through Medway and an opening ceremony at Rochester Cathedral.

The Games are held in a different city every year on behalf of the charity Transplant Sport UK.

Founded in 1978, they aim to encourage patients to regain fitness and raise awareness of the value of donation.

Transplant patient Paul German said the event was both a celebration of life and a way of thanking donor families for their generosity.

"Although exciting to watch, all of the athletes compete in a spirit of shared experience, never forgetting that one of the main aims of the BTG is to encourage more people to carry the card and sign up to the organ donor register," he said.

The competition, which includes athletics, swimming, squash, golf, tennis, archery and volleyball, is one of the largest annual multi-sport events in the UK.

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