THE new Lifesavers campaign by The Press has received instant top-level backing.

Our initiative, which seeks to get 20,000 people in our patch to join the organ donor register by the end of next year, has been praised by the Government’s Health Secretary.

Andy Burnham hailed the campaign, which was inspired by the tragic death of 22-year-old Miss York finalist Emma Young, and urged people to sign up to the national register.

Welcoming the Lifesavers campaign, Mr Burnham said: “Each year, organ donors transform the lives of thousands of people. But despite this, three people die every day while waiting for a transplant.

“More people are signing up to the Organ Donor Register than ever before, but many more are needed.

“Most of us support organ donation and the overwhelming majority would take an organ if we needed it. I would urge everybody who supports organ donation to show it by signing up to the Organ Donor Register and discussing their wishes with their families.”

Local politicians from all parties have also backed the campaign, which was launched following the death of Miss York finalist Emma Young, who died aged 22 while awaiting a lung transplant.

Andrew Waller, leader of City of York Council, said: “I am sure that there are many people around the city who believe in the cause, but have not yet got around to registering and need a bit of a prompt to do it and this is a strong awareness raising campaign to achieve the sign up.”

He said he was sure the council would provide appropriate publicity for the initiative and help to tell people how to join the register. Local Conservative leader Ian Gillies said: “My wife, daughters, and I have carried donor cards for as long as I can remember. Organ donations can both save and improve the lives of many, and they depend entirely on the actions and generosity of the donors. I would urge everyone to consider donating.”

Labour’s David Scott said: “I have already registered as an organ donor and wholeheartedly support the Lifesavers campaign. The target set is ambitious, but it is one that I am sure the residents of York can achieve.”