North East schoolchildren get creative for World Transplant Games

27th June 2019

A group of Newcastle primary schoolchildren have created artwork and designed mascot ideas for the World Transplant Games in NewcastleGateshead this summer.

Pupils at Hilton Primary Academy in Blakelaw have taken part in a week of activities to learn more about the World Transplant Games, transplantation and organ donation. Pupils heard from Great Britain team manager Lynne Holt and athletes who will be competing in the Games in August as they shared their personal experiences of organ donation and transplantation, and how they have been given a second chance to live a healthy and active life.

During the week, the themes of organ donation and transplantation were explored through art and printmaking in sessions run by Northern Print. Pupils learnt new skills in printmaking and the final artworks produced will be exhibited around the region as part of the World Transplant Games.

Other schools throughout the region, including Prudhoe Community High School, Harlow Green Community Primary School and Lambton Primary School, have been involved in the World Transplant Games Schools Programme led by Northern Print.

Anna Wilkinson, Director at Northern Print, said: “We are really pleased to be part of World Transplant Games and to be working with artist Bridget Jones in schools around the region. Printmaking is the perfect process to explore young people’s responses to ideas about organ donation and transplantation. There seems to be a lovely connection between ‘transfer’ and ‘transplant’ and the idea that we are all unique but share a common template. We hope the prints and posters will stimulate conversations about this incredible act of human ingenuity and generosity.”

As well as the printmaking sessions pupils at Hilton Primary Academy, and others throughout the region, have been busy designing a mascot for the Games. The official mascot will represent the spirit of the Games and inspire people of all ages to support the event and engage with the subject of organ donation.

The winning design will be chosen by judges from the World Transplant Games Organising committee before being made into the official mascot, which will play a key role during the Games in August.

Laurie Stevens, Art Lead at Hilton Primary Academy, said: “We were really excited to be invited to work on the World Transplant Games poster challenge with Northern Print. The Games are a brilliant event that helps draw attention to the positive benefits of organ donation. At Hilton we felt that it was really important for children to learn more about the process of organ donation particularly with law changes being brought into effect in 2020.

This project is providing amazing opportunities to gain firsthand experiences from artists, print makers, athletes and the Medical Science department at Newcastle University. This has really helped us to enrich elements of our STEAM curriculum and allow children to work as they would in industry by following a brief to the final concept. We can’t wait to see the final designs from our children and the other participating schools.”

In August NewcastleGateshead will welcome around 2,500 participants from 60 countries to take place in the World Transplant Games. From 17 – 24 August participants between the ages of 6 and 84 will complete in a range of sporting events across venues in NewcastleGateshead and Sunderland.

Chris Thomas, President of the World Transplant Games Federation, said: “We are very encouraged by the work that is being done with young people in NewcastleGateshead and applaud this programme. Children are incredibly receptive to learning about organ donation and transplantation. Research has shown that children who have been educated on the topic and gained knowledge about the subject are more likely to discuss donation with their parents.”