Team Mash cycling 340 miles as 'Warm up' for the Westfield Health British Transplant Games

Transplant athletes on an epic journey to cycle from Bristol to the Institute of Transplantation at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital will be greeted with open arms when they arrive at the Institute of Transplantation at the Freeman Hospital on Monday 20 July, 10 days before the Westfield Health British Transplant Games (WHBTG) take place on Tyneside and four days after their journey began at the home of Bristol City FC.

Tackling an incredible 342 miles, heart transplantee Kevin Mashford, has recruited 60 riders to join him for all or part of the journey, which is being billed as the ultimate British Transplant Games warm up.

Professor Greg Whyte OBE has been training Kevin and is also taking part in the ride, said: “Cycling 340 miles is a major feat of endurance for anyone, but for a man who has had a heart transplant it is an extraordinary challenge. Kevin is a remarkable individual whose indomitable spirit is an inspiration to us all.”

Kevin was referred to the Freeman Hospital in 2012, 330 miles from his home in Bristol, and told a heart transplant was his only chance of survival, following a series of operations to treat a rare heart condition. On the 4th May 2013, the team at the Freeman Hospital’s Institute of Transplantation performed a 13 hour transplant operation, transforming Kevin’s life.

Talking about his donor, John, Kevin said: “I wanted to know about my donor immediately. I couldn’t stop thinking about him and his family. I later found out a little about him, his first name and that he died in a cycling accident. Seven days after surgery I asked for an exercise bike. Still tubed, with a neck line in, I cycled seven minutes for the seven days since the transplant in honour of John, my hero. I vowed to keep doing so.

I have his name in my helmet and every time I’m on my bike I think about him. When I’m tired I ask him for a bit extra and it spurs me on.”

The charity cycleathon has been organised in honour of Kevin’s donor, John, and also for Kevin’s friend, Jonathan Osborne (Jon), who had a lung transplant at the Freeman Hospital, but sadly died last year. Jon’s wife Emma and Kevin have set up the charity The Transplant Association, with the hope of raising awareness of organ donation, to provide a website as an
information resource for those affected by transplant,
as well as funds for training nurses in psychological care.

Others doing the full ride are Jon’s family and friends including his15 year old son, Joe; double lung transplant, Richard Caulkin; Kenny, husband of Chester-le-St heart transplant patient, Louise McLellan, and  Kevin’s Bristol Cardiologist Dr Graham Stuart, who will be doing the ride with his wife on a Tandem bicycle!

Joining Kevin for the last leg of the journey from  Boroughbridge is double-lung transplantee, Vicky Pettersen (and husband Eric). Vicky who is team manager for the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association at The British Transplant Games, will be accompanied by local Freeman heart transplant patients Alex Bell, Mick Bradshaw and Wendy Lingham.

Others will join the cyclists at The Angel of the North, including 11-year-old Rachel Hooley, who also had a heart transplant in 2012 and will be competing at the Transplant Games for the Freeman hospital’s children’s team.

Thanks to 3663 Bidvest, who are supporting the Transplant Games, cupcakes and drinks will be provided on arrival.

The Westfield Health British Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2015 is one of the largest annual multi-sports events in the United Kingdom. The Games will be hosted across NewcastleGateshead 30 July-02 August 2015. The British Transplant Games are organised by the charity Transplant Sport. The four day event celebrates the many incredible achievements of transplant athletes, and highlights not just the benefits of transplantation, but the desperate need for organ donors in the North East and across the UK.

Every 10 minutes, somebody’s name gets added to the donor waiting list whilst three people die every day because they can’t get the organ they need. In the North East alone there are currently more than 300 people waiting for transplants. To join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives TEXT: SAVE to 62323, call 0300 123 2323 or visit
To find out more about TeamMash and their Bristol to Newcastle cycle ride, and the Transplant Association, please visit
To find out more about the Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2015 please visit, ‘like’ The British Transplant Games on Facebook, or follow @WHBTG on Twitter.



To find out more about TeamMash and their Bristol to Newcastle cycle ride, and the Transplant Association, please visit , or  / 07971 982581 and Emma Osborne 07970830907

To find out more about the Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2015 please visit, 'like' The British Transplant Games on Facebook, follow @WHBTG..

For more information about the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, please contact:  Shelley Armstrong - / 0191
4405739 / 07717 631109.

Notes to editors:

About the Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2015

  •  The Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2015 will be held in NewcastleGateshead from 30 July-2 August 2015.
  • The Games aim to demonstrate the benefits of transplantation, encouraging transplant patients to regain fitness, whilst increasing public awareness of the need for more people to sign on the NHS Organ Donation Register and discuss their wishes now with their families. The Games also seek to thank and celebrate donor families and the gift of life.
  •  The Games have been staged annually since 1978 in a number of host cities including Sheffield, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Belfast, Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester, London and Coventry.
  •  Transplant Sport organises the games; Transplant Sport is a charity which organises sports and social events for transplant recipients in order to highlight the benefits of organ donation and prove that you can lead a normal and active life again after transplantation:
  • The Westfield Health British Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2015 Local Organising Committee is chaired by North East Businessman Graham Wylie.
  •  The Games are coordinated by Sheffield-based, MLS Contracts LTD (MLS) and supported by not for profit health insurance provider Westfield Health. MLS is a Consultancy in Sports, Leisure and Event Management, working throughout the UK and Internationally.  MLS has managed the Games for eight years.
  • The 2015 Games are also supported by Newcastle Trust Hospitals, British Heart Foundation, Anthony Nolan, Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, TSG, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Gateshead Council and Newcastle City Council and NHSBT

Organ Donation - key facts and figures

  • Almost 7,000 people in the UK are estimated to be waiting for an organ transplant, with three people dying each day whilst waiting to find a match.
  • Currently over 300 people are waiting for transplants in the North East. On average 300 people in the region per year receive a transplant but 30 die waiting.
  • 30% of people in the NE are signed on to the ODR and 30% of relatives refuse to give consent.
  • To join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives TEXT: SAVE to 62323, call 0300 123 2323 or visit Share your wishes with friends and family. Even if your name is on the register, the person closest to you in life will be asked to confirm that you had not changed your mind; having to make a decision about organ donation, unsure what that person would have wanted, can cause extra pain.

Anthony Nolan and bone marrow donation

  • Anthony Nolan, now in its 40th anniversary year, was the world's first bone marrow register. The blood cancer charity has been saving lives for four decades by matching remarkable people willing to donate their bone marrow to patients in desperate need of a transplant.
  • We need more young men aged 16-30 to sign up, as they are most likely to be chosen to donate but make up just 15% of the register.
  • At Anthony Nolan we want someone who has a transplant to have the greatest possible chance of life. However, currently, only 60% of transplant recipients receive the best possible match, and this drops dramatically to 20.5% if you're from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background. By building and diversifying our register we will be able to provide the best match to even more people with blood cancer.
  • To join the bone marrow donor register or for further information go to