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University thanks body donors for their gift of life and learning

11 Mar 2019

Our Memorial Service marks what body donation means to medical education

The University of Manchester

More than 500 people attended the University’s Memorial Service for body donors in Whitworth Hall.

Each year, a number of people donate their bodies to the University to enable students to understand the complex field of human anatomy.

Manchester is one of only a small number of UK universities that teach whole body dissection, considered the gold standard of anatomical education, which is only possible through the generosity of people gifting their bodies after death.

Each year, we hold a Memorial Service attended by donors’ families, local dignitaries, staff and students.  At the service, each donor’s name is read out and a candle lit in their memory by a student.

Yesterday’s service was led by the Reverend Philip Meadows, alongside Humanist celebrant Paul Costello and Father Brendan Callaghan SJ of the Catholic Chaplaincy. Four of our students also gave speeches, thanking those who had donated their body for their gift of learning.

Professor of Anatomy Ingrid Gouldsborough said: “We’re immensely grateful to these individuals – every time someone donates, they’re imparting knowledge and a depth of understanding to our students.  I’m very proud of our donor programme and we’re often complimented on the reputation and professionalism of our department.

“Our students have said that although, for the families, a donor represents a personal loss, for each of the students, they represent a beginning.

“One body will aid in the education of 40 or 50 students. That’s a very powerful legacy.”

If you would like to find out more about Manchester’s body donation programme, call:

  • Stephen Lindsay-Smith on 0161 275 5259.