Memorial history

The concept of the ‘Gift of Life Memorial’ (GOLM) was started in 2007 by Donor Family Network (DFN) Trustee Pauline Weaver and Chairman David Nix as they were aware that there was no national memorial for donor families and transplant recipients. Julia Hennessey-Priest was chosen as the artist to design the new national memorial. By 2008 the initial concept had taken shape and at the British Transplant Games in Sheffield that year the DFN first announced that they had plans to build a national memorial for all those affected by organ and tissue donation.

The DFN then started a close consultation period with the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) to gain approval for the design of the national memorial. This process was not concluded until late 2009 when approval for the design was given by the Trustees of the NMA.

There then followed a long period of fundraising to ensure that the memorial became a reality. The DFN would like to thank all those who gave their support in helping the charity to raise the amount needed to complete this project. By 2014 sufficient funds had been raised and the ‘go ahead’ was given to Julia to start the creation of the memorial centre piece.

Castle Fine Arts Foundry was chosen to cast the bronze centre piece. Julia then spent many months creating the butterfly and flower by applying the colourful mosaic tiles to the bronze castings. Cerrig Granite and Slate Limited were contracted to manufacture and install the Welsh granite plinth for the memorial to sit upon. This was all completed by the autumn of 2015. Scott Developments then completed the groundwork, finishing the paths in early 2016.

On Thursday 7th April 2016, HRH Duke of Gloucester carried out the official unveiling of the ‘Gift of Life Memorial’ with over 450 donor families, recipients and transplant health care professionals present at the ceremony.