The ups and downs of sport crammed themselves into four days experienced by Spalding archer, badminton and volleyball player Sam Newton (35).
A demanding programme of qualifying matches, target shoots and court time at the British Transplant Games in Liverpool over the last four days in July ended with Sam collecting a team gold medal in volleyball and an individual silver medal in archery.
Sam, a teaching assistant at Sir John Gleed School, Spalding, also saw his efforts as part of a team representing Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, rewarded when they retained the overall team title, despite playing like absolute beginners in the badminton competition.
“At the end of the first day, our team manager thought we had no chance of winning the overall team title,” Sam said.
“We knew that other teams were much bigger in terms of numbers, whereas we had 35 athletes, Addenbrooke’s biggest ever team at a Transplant Games.
“But on Sunday, we realised that some of the results hadn’t gone as we were expecting and, at the end, we found out that we’d won it.”
Sam’s gold in the team volleyball competition came after revenge in the final over a team they had lost to in the group stages.
But the archery crown went to team-mate Steve Fry and Sam said: “I’d worked every Tuesday and Thursday night for the past six months on trying to win, only to lose to a guy who’d only had half-an-hour’s practice since the last Games.
“Steve was like a brother to me, my doubles partner in badminton and also on our volleyball team.
“But I’m having the gold medal back next year.”
We knew that other teams were much bigger in terms of numbers but when we realised that some of the results hadn’t gone as we were expecting, we found out that we’d won it.”Sam Newton, teaching assistant, Sir John Gleed School, Spalding
According to British Transplant Games organisers, on average about 43 per cent of relatives refuse permission for organ donations to take place.
This means that more than 1,200 people have missed out on a potentially life-saving transplant in the last six years.
Sam Newton said: “ In the last five years, more than 500 families have said ‘No’ to making organ donations, despite their relatives being on the organ donor register.
“People think that it’s a really good idea to put their name on the register, but if they don’t have the conversation with their families then ultimately it can mean nothing,
“It’s about having that conversation with your family so that they know it’s something you want to do.
“I wouldn’t be sitting down with gold and silver medals if someone hadn’t given their ‘Yes’ to donating their organs and for Addenbrooke’s to do a simultaneous kidney and pancreas operation in February 2014.”