This is our first feature as we start to build up to the 2015 British Transplant Games in Newcastle. Arthur Taylor’s blog on taking part in the very successful 2014 games held in Bolton.
“We went on Thursday 7th August to Bolton for flat green bowling and it was a brilliant experience, unfortunately there were supposed to be 27 people competing and only 11 turned up, as a result we all got through the preliminary round. Here is what happened; because there were quite a lot of members from Bolton flat green bowling club there, they all had matches with us. It wasn’t a wasted afternoon which was very, very good and they were a very friendly team.
On Saturday it was an early start and because we were down to the last 32, I got put in a group with the crown green runner up from last year, who was from Sheffield. There was also a lady from Derby and a flat green regular bowler from Addenbrooke’s. These were all kidney recipients. The kidney participants outweighed everybody else, it could have been the kidney transplant games. I won the first game against the guy from Sheffield 7-4, I lost the game to the regular bowler from Addenbrooke’s 7-4 and I beat the lady from Derby 12-3. I didn’t hold back on that because it was to do with your aggregate, and the person with the best aggregate got through. The guy from Addenbrooke’s won all his matches, so I didn’t get through into the last 16, but I’m ready for next year.
It was good being able to talk to other people who have been in the same position as me. On Thursday night it was the parade, there was a Scottish pipe band there and when they started playing I had goose bumps down my arms, the atmosphere was unbelievable. It was really magic, I think there were just less than 30 in the Manchester team, which was very good, compared with last year when there was only about half a dozen.
If it hadn’t been for that letter from Dr Middleton, I would never have known about the games, but I’m certainly glad I know about them now because I can’t wait for Newcastle and Gateshead next year. I’m going to be competing in the bowling, and I’m going to be competing in the ten pin bowling as well and see what else there is that I fancy. We had a get together, organized by Zoe the Manchester Team Captain, about a month before the bowling competition to meet the other Manchester team members and 10 of us turned up. It was good to meet people that I had never met before, they were other team members and it was a nice get together. When it came to the day you knew who some of the other team members were so it was good, we also managed to get tickets for a Gala Dinner at Bolton Whites Hotel on Sunday. There were about 1000 people there and the atmosphere was amazing! We had the main room and upstairs on the mezzanine level for the children, extra downstairs was needed for all the people who turned up. I was lucky to get tickets because someone on the Manchester team had to go to Newcastle the following morning and had to travel up on Sunday, so he had to give back his 2 tickets and I bought them from him. We were lucky, because I thought I was going to America with work on the Monday morning, but I ended up going in September so it turned out well.
On the Thursday, my wife and daughter came to the bowling in the afternoon and stayed, we had a little bit of something to eat before the evening parade. They really enjoyed it, and to hear the people on the steps of Bolton town hall, giving the viewpoint of the donor family. It was quite moving the commitment families have made getting recognition for organ donation as well as allowing the organs of their loved ones to be donated and keeping countless people alive. If it wasn’t for them I most probably wouldn’t be here now and I am sothankful to the donor family. We saw the parade on the Thursday evening and on the Saturday my wife came with me, unfortunately my daughter couldn’t attend.
My wife also came with me to the Gala Dinner, and it was very, very good. Next year when the Games are up in Newcastle and Gateshead we will be staying for the 4 nights and having a mini break.
It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, it’s the actual participation that counts. We are not playing for the town hall clock, nobody’s bothered, it’s just a friendly atmosphere and being able to meet other people who have been in a similar situation to yourself. It’s so friendly it’s unbelievable, I mean the people who you get talking to, and one guy I was playing bowls with on the Thursday in one of the friendly matches was from Oxford. I had never seen him before in my life, and we had quite a good conversation, it was great. So I would say just have a look down the list of what sports there are and if you think you can do it, just have a go.”
If you’ve been inspired by Arthur’s blog and would like to know more about competing as a member of “Team Manchester” in the 2015 transplant games then please contact Julie Gorton via the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org