Martin Luther King’s famous words, “I have a dream”, could very well have been the inspiration to Peter Hansen, a Dutch Heart Transplant recipient who, in 1989, with the support of the Dutch National Heart Transplant Federation “Harten Twee”, invited Heart Transplant recipients from neighbouring countries to a weekend of sport at Gorssel in the Netherlands.

Such was the success of these Games and the recognition that “something special” had been started, that the French Heart Transplant Assocation, under the Chairmanship of Maurice Girod hosted the competition the following year.

In 1991 the Games were hosted by the British Heart Transplant Association at Hayes, Middlesex, just outside London under the Chairmanship of Kim Pinfield and Vice-President Geoffrey Finnigan.

In 1992 Peter Hansen and “Harten Twee” again hosted the Games, this time at the campus of Twente University at Enschede in the Netherlands. By this time the Games had grown to almost 200 competitors from 10 countries and where Jan Ras and Pieter Haak were key contributors.

It was here that the idea of a European Heart Transplant Federation was first discussed with Fernand Magdonelle and Geoffrey Finnigan as principal promoters. A draft proposal for statues for a Federation was presented during a meeting at Brussels in 1993. A final version was prepared at Tignes, France in January of 1994 and presented to all National Associations attending the 5th European Games at Helsinki, Finland in 1994, where the founding protocol was signed on July 3rd 1994.

Geoffrey Finnigan of Great Britain was elected the first President of the Federation.

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