British Transplant Games 2013 begin in Sheffield

Competitors who have had life-saving transplants are taking part in sports including archery, football, tennis and athletics over four days.

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More than 650 people who have had life-saving transplants have arrived in Sheffield for the start of the British Transplant Games.

Competitors will take part in sports including archery, football, tennis and athletics over four days.

The opening coincides with news the number of organ transplants carried out in the UK has reached a record high.

It is hoped the games will encourage more people to sign up to the NHS blood and transplant organ donor register.

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

Celebrating patients' lives

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

Participants at the event range from two to 80 years old, with competitors representing the hospitals where they had their transplant or follow-up treatment.

Jo Brown, of Transplant Sport UK, said: "Originally, 34 years ago, there were 100 people taking part and it was a one-day event and now it is a four-day event with over 15 different sports.

"The purpose of the games is to celebrate the lives of the individuals that have had an organ donation and to give thanks to the donor families."

The opening of the games, which takes place at venues including Don Valley Stadium and Ponds Forge, will be marked with a parade from Devonshire Green to the City Hall, starting at 18:30 BST.

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