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Monday, 12 August, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Donors 'happy to help' corpse show
Eulinda Clarke-Akalanne, 60, from Somerset, who has decided to become a body donor, pictured alongside a plastinate at the Body Worlds Exhibition
Eulinda Clarke-Akalanne has pledged her body
The first people from the UK to donate their bodies to a controversial art exhibition have said they are doing it to help educate the public.

Some of the 22-strong group of donors gathered on Monday to explain to the public their decision to join the Body Worlds show when dead.

They also discussed how their bodies would be preserved and displayed with the man behind the show, German Professor Gunther von Hagens.


It is all about reality for me, more than with art or in literature

Colin Hill, 17
Body donor
The UK donors will join 5,000 more from around the world who have volunteered their bodies to become part of the display of flayed corpses and organs when they die.

"I feel that by doing this I will be helping to advance medical research and enlighten people about the human body," said Eulinda Clarke-Akalanne, 60, from Westonzoyland, Somerset.

"I have spoken to my children and at first they were very reluctant but they have become convinced, so much so that my youngest son wants to do it too. He is 22."

Professor Gunther von Hagens with Body Worlds exhibit
Professor Gunther von Hagens created the exhibition
Body Worlds has been seen by more than 200,000 people in London in March, and a further eight million more around the world.

Prof von Hagens says it is an anatomical and educational exhibition, but others have condemned it as a "freak show" and accused him of using bodies without consent.

Another donor, Lynne Hazel, 43, from Broughton Astley, Leicester, said she wanted to become a source of knowledge after her death.

"It's about education, but I will be providing information after my death and that is my own personal choice," she said.

Her daughter 17-year-old Helen Taylor said she found it odd that she might take her children to an exhibition to see their grandmother one day, although she supported her mother's choice.

Visitors at Body Worlds
UK visitors are more willing to donate their bodies, organisers say
Raymond Edwards, 51, from Islington, North London, said: "For me it was about taking control of my death and what happens to me after I died.

"I have been to so many funerals where I thought this person didn't want it to happen like this."

One of the youngest donors, Colin Hill, 17, from Chapel Allerton, Leeds, said his parents were a bit surprised, but it was "not a big problem".

He said: "It is all about reality for me, more than with art or in literature.

"It shows what the human condition is and I was just pleased to be able to donate my body to give people the chance to experience the exhibition around the world."

A survey has shown that people in the UK are more willing to donate their bodies, with 38% of those questioned at the exhibition saying they would consider it.

Consent

"People in this country are more sensible to consent," Prof von Hagens said.

He admitted that he had used some corpses without the consent of the deceased or their families in countries where the law allowed him to use bodies that had not been identified.

But so many people have volunteered their bodies that he does not need to resort to more sinister methods, he said.

"There is always some suggestion or other that I dig up some corpse in Siberia but no, see, I don't need to," he said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Body donor Juanita Carberry
"I'm a great recycler"
See also:

20 Jul 02 | Europe
25 Jun 02 | England
22 Mar 02 | Entertainment
22 Mar 02 | Entertainment
12 Mar 02 | Entertainment
12 Mar 02 | Entertainment
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