The Duke of Gloucester has unveiled a plaque that will displayed in a new commemorative garden at Queen’s Hospital in Burton.

Prince Richard was at the hospital on Tuesday, July 25 to open the garden named ‘Another Chance to Fly’ and built in memory of patients who made the selfless decision to donate their organs after their death.

Members of the Organ Donation Committee for Queen’s Hospital were guests at the event, along with their families.

Members of the donation committee include nurses, clinicians and health care professionals, as well as families of people whose organs have been donated.

The Duke paid tribute to those who have donated and their families who have agreed to the sacrifice, saying: “It’s a great pleasure to visit here today. Organ transplants aren’t an automatic decision; it’s an act of will – from trained doctors and the families who choose to accept it.

“It’s my honour to unveil the memorial dedicated to those who will now feel like they are part of something worthwhile and this gives the chance to those who haven’t considered becoming a donor to do so now.”

The Duke and William Saunders unveil the plaque that will be displayed in the garden
The Duke and William Saunders unveil the plaque that will be displayed in the garden

The new memorial can be accessed through the main entrance of the hospital and is made up of a dozen metal birds.

The Duke began his visit by looking around the new garden accompanied by William Saunders, chairman of the hospital's Organ Donation Committee.

Mr Saunders has hailed the creation of the dedicated area, saying: “The memorial is a fitting tribute to those families who, at a very difficult time, made the decision to save others.

“We were delighted that so many people from Burton and other parts of Staffordshire were able to share this special occasion with us.

“The committee had a number of discussions about the kind of memorial it should have and where it should be sited. They eventually decided they wanted something to fit in with the improvements being made by the trust.

“The name, ‘Another Chance to Fly’ was chosen by the committee following a competition run through the Burton Mail.”

Mr Saunders also explained why it is so important for people to sign up to become an organ donor.

He said: “Three people a day, or one thousand a year, will die because they need and can’t get an organ transplant. That drives the organ donation group here at Queen’s Hospital in Burton.

The garden has been titled 'Another Chance to Fly'
The garden has been named 'Another Chance to Fly'

“I am immensely proud to lead such a dedicated group. It’s been a fantastic year for us here at the hospital.

"We are one of, if not, the most successful district general hospital in the country, saving 25 lives and winning a pride award.

“I just want to thank everyone for their sacrifice and from now I want to ask for families to discuss the question of organ donation and make each other aware of the wishes of the other.”

The Duke met representatives from the Organ Donation Committee and their families following the unveiling of the plaque.

Among them were members whose loved one's organs have been donated to help others.

John and Madeleine Holmes, from Duffield, in Derbyshire, lost their daughter Philippa in 2009 when she collapsed in their family home suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.

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Philippa was a Cambridge University graduate, with first class honours. She was found on the bathroom floor, completely unresponsive, and was pronounced dead at the Royal Derby Hospital.

Mr and Mrs Holmes explained that they had had a conversation with their daughter about her thoughts on donating organs and suggested this to the doctor.

Her organs were used to improve the chances of six terminally ill patients, five who are still alive today.

Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Holmes said: “I am so passionate about people actually discussing becoming an organ donor with their children and making sure everyone knows their wishes.

John and Madeleine Holmes lost their daughter Phillipa in 2009
John and Madeleine Holmes lost their daughter Phillipa in 2009

“The grief itself never goes away – it’s like a life sentence.”

Mr Holmes explained that being part of a committee trying to get people talking about donating organs can help the healing process.

“We love being part of this committee; we came here from Derby because at the time there weren't any other members who were family of people who had donated organs, so we came across and became a part of it.

“In the end, we look at this and we are proud of our daughter, and we always will be.”

The pair commented on how fitting the commemorative garden is for their memories of their daughter, Philippa.

The garden was designed by illustration business H+H, which created the design to try to create a calm and positive feeling.

Hannah Alice, one of the designers for the project, said: “The courtyard space presented the opportunity to work with the existing architecture of the site. We decided we wanted to focus on the positive impact of organ donation and the future it gives to recipients.

“Each metal bird has an etched metal effect which reflects different light from different angles, therefore changing each time the site is visited.”

Sarah Tweats is another member of the Organ Donation Committee.

Sarah’s mother, Margaret Tweats died in 2014. Her liver and one kidney were donated to two patients who needed them.

One man, in his 20s, received the liver from Miss Tweats’ mother after being given ‘one or two days to live’ and is still alive today.

Miss Tweats said that although this can be a devastating time of life, seeing positive come out of a loved one’s death can help with grief.

She said: “It’s a devastating time of life, although it comes from hard decisions and sufferings. The thought of a loved one being messed about with is not nice, but it’s reassuring knowing that they’re doing it in a professional manner.

“In fact I’m still in touch with the doctors who update me on those who received my mother’s organs.”

The garden is open to anybody who wants to visit and remember those who have given their organs to help someone else.