A Spalding teaching assistant who underwent kidney and pancreas transplants to save his life has come out in gold at a sporting event “celebrating life”.
Sam Newton (34) repeated his success at last year’s British Transplant Games in Bolton by retaining individual archery and team volleyball titles at this year’s event in Newcastle/Gateshead.
More than 850 athletes representing hospitals from across the UK took part in the Games which are now in their 37th year.
Sam also helped Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, to win the overall title for the first time in its history – the same hospital where the staff member at Sir John Gleed School, Spalding, had a double transplant in February 2014.
“It was a lot more special this year because I was there for the whole thing, whereas last year, I was only there for my events and then went home,” Sam said.
“I competed in the archery competition first at Gateshead International Athletics Stadium where I shot quite well, but didn’t score as well as I would have liked.
“Then there was the volleyball at Gateshead Leisure Centre where the Addenbrooke’s team won all of our matches, most of them quite convincingly.
“In the final, we played the same team that we had beaten in the group stages after winning in sudden death, trying to play nice controlled volleyball while also fighting as a team.”
Sam was part of the Games’ opening ceremony at Newcastle City Hall on Thursday, July 30, which featured former X Factor winning singer Joe McElderry and Evolution Dance Crew.
Competition also got under way on Thursday and continued through Friday and Saturday, with a closing ceremony at Gateshead International Stadium on Sunday, August 2, hosted by TV presenter Jeremy Kyle.
Sam said: “I stayed to support the whole Addenbrooke’s team and at the gala meal on Sunday night, the real moment of triumph came when they announced that we had won the Rose Bowl for the best overall team.
“We all just jumped up and started shouting because it was the first time that Addenbrooke’s Hospital had won the team event in the history of the British Transplant Games.”
Ahead for Sam is a volleyball tournament for transplant patients in Manchester on November 21 after he has had treatment on his frozen shoulder, a condition where tissue around the shoulder joint becomes sore and stiff.
“The Games are all about celebrating life and just to be a part of Addenbrooke’s success, seeing the team manager crying her eyes out after 17 years of trying to win the Rose Bowl, was the real highlight,” Sam said.