A Spalding teaching assistant is flying the flag for his sports club and the hospital that saved his life at a sporting event this week.
Sam Newton (34), who helps children with special educational needs at Sir John Gleed School, Spalding, is among more than 600 athletes taking part in the Westfield Health British Transplant Games taking place in Newcastle/Gateshead until Sunday.
I’m doing the same events as last year and I want two gold medals again.Sam Newton, Silver Spoon Bowmen of Spalding Club
Over the course of the four-day event, Sam is hoping to win both individual and team gold medals in archery and volleyball respectively, which he did in Bolton in 2014.
Sam said: “I’m doing the same events as last year, but this time with two frozen shoulders which means I have pain and a lack of mobility in both shoulders.
“I’ll be representing Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where I had my kidney and pancreas transplant in February 2014, and so the pain is something I’m putting up with to take part in the games.”
Sam played for Spalding Volleyball Club for about 18 years until illness forced him to give up two years ago, but he still shoots and coaches at Silver Spoon Bowmen of Spalding Archery Club.
“I want two gold medals again, despite the shoulder issues, and I’m not going for second best” Sam said.
The British Transplant Games were founded by Transplant Sport in 1978 as an international event for teams, including France, Greece and the USA.
Since its first staging in Portsmouth, the event has been held annually in a different city across the UK, from Belfast and Edinburgh to Sheffield and Bolton in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Sports being contested this year in Newcastle/Gateshead include badminton, basketball, squash, table tennis and fishing, with competitors being watched by both natural and donor families “to celebrate the gift of life”.