Marking the Ten Year Anniversary of the Order of St John Award for Organ and Tissue Donation

Last Friday, 15th September 2023, we were extremely privileged to attend the 10 Year Anniversary Reception for the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation. Donor families across the UK joined His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, the Chancellor of the Priory of England and the Islands, and the Organ and Tissues Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transport Team in a special event to commemorate the 10,000 organ donors who have been recognised over the past decade for saving more than 25,00 lives. 

The Order of St John began a partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant in 2013, which started the national award to recognise deceased organ donors, and honour the incredible gift they and their families have given. The award, which takes the form of a pin-badge and scroll signed by The Grand Prior, is offered by invitation to all families whose loved one donates an organ after death in the UK, is presented to the next-of-kin of the donor at award ceremonies organised by County Priory Groups. The award can also be sent by post to those who do not wish to receive it publicly. 

His Royal Highness, The Duke of Gloucester, unveiled a new plaque at the event, in memory of all organ and tissue donors at the Museum of the Order of St John. This stone memorial will be hung in the Cloister Garden at the Museum, allowing a space of quiet reflection for anyone who would like to visit it.

new plaque

At our core, the fundamental role of the Order of St John is to preserve life; an ethos shared with the NHS Blood and Transplant Team. This award, which also recognises tissue donors, marked with the words “add life, give hope”, commemorates the generosity of those who have donated. 

“This Award represents the very best of humanity, recognising extraordinary people who seek to help others if the worst should happen to them.

Every person who is recognised has their own story, yet they are united in their life changing impact on others who are facing their own hour of great need.

The memorial which His Royal Highness has unveiled today will be a place of quiet reflection for families who know the cost of the generosity of their loved ones, 10 years after the creation of the Award.”

Simon Williams, the Chancellor of the Priory of England and the Islands of the Order of St John

Marking the Ten Year Anniversary of the Order of St John Award for Organ and Tissue Donation

“Organ donors give the ultimate gift of life to people they will never know and it is important we recognise the difference this makes to the lives of recipients.

Without people being willing to donate their organs, no organ transplants would be possible. Over 60,000 people are alive thanks to organ donors and their families saying yes, but thousands more adults and children are still waiting for a life-saving donation.

We’re very proud to have worked with the Order of St John for ten years to honour so many organ donors and it is wonderful to unveil a tribute to all organ and tissue donors at the heart of our capital.

We hope everyone will be inspired to confirm their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register to help save more lives.”

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transport shared

You can read Aari and Paul’s story of donation here. 

This week, Monday 18th September – Sunday 24th September is Organ Donation Week in the UK. NHS Blood and Transplant are asking for everyone in the UK to confirm their Organ Donation Decision here.