THE number of people donating organs after death in Yorkshire has increased by 32 per cent in the last five years.

The figures from the NHS Yorkshire Organ Donation Team (YODT) which covers York, North and East Yorkshire as well as North Nottingham, Lincolnshire and North Derbyshire show that in the York Hospital Trust area last year there were five successful organ donations.

Gordon Crowe, team manager for YODT, said more people were signing up to the organ donor register with more than 1,200 people in the UK donating their organs in the last year, leading to about 3,100 transplants.

Mr Crowe said that there were two types of donors; firstly those who are declared brain-stem dead with the numbers of these donors remaining static over the past five years. In the second category, donation after circulatory death where life support is stopped, there has been a large increase in the last five years.

He said this has been largely credited to the network of specialist nurses who approach and support bereaved relatives in hospitals of which there are 16 in the Yorkshire area.

Mr Crowe said: “Our specialist nurses work with the doctors and nurses in the hospitals to promote organ donation and identify possible candidates and speak to the families. The team have done a lot of hard work both locally and nationally over the last five years and we are now in the position where people are coming to us to find out how they can help.”

The Press ran its Lifesavers campaign in 2010, encouraging thousands of people to sign up to the register and highlighting how organ donation can help people who are desperately ill.. The importance of signing up to donate organs after death has now never been greater.

To join the Organ Donor Register or get more information, phone 0300 1232323, visit

‘I’m living proof of what can happen’

WENDY Lingham was given only weeks to live and was even planning her own funeral when a heart donor was found for her.

Now able to enjoy life again with her young son Joshua, Wendy, 33, from Clifton, says it is vital that families talk about what they want for their organs after their death.

“I’m living proof of what can happen when someone is brave enough to put their name on the Organ Donor Register,” she said.

“I think it’s so important that people talk to their families because relatives still have the power to contest donations.

“People still need to sign up to the register too. How are families going to know once a loved one has gone? Nobody wants to think about it but we all have to go one day.

“From one person, in theory, it’s possible to save five lives,” she said.

Wendy underwent her transplant in 2011 after years of declining health caused by a heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy.

In 2009 she suffered heart failure and was placed on the emergency transplant register. With doctors giving her just three months to live, a donor was found and Wendy underwent a transplant.

She now helps to raise money for heart health charities and encourages others to sign up to the Organ Donor Register.