THE widow of a popular York science teacher who died suddenly while cycling says organ donation means he has gone on to help many people after his death.

Stephen Brian was just 46 when he died two weeks ago, after he came off his bike on Cranbrook Road, in Acomb, near his home in Carr Lane.

His widow Gillian said he was a great believer in organ donation and wanted a change in the law to make donation after death automatic.

“Because Stephen suffered a brain injury and no other injuries it seemed the obvious thing to do. He has been able to help so many people and it’s just some small consolation really and it’s what he would have wanted. He cared so much about other people and he always wanted to help people.”

Mrs Brian praised the staff at Hull Royal Infirmary where Stephen was a patient and said she had been told one of his kidneys had gone to a 40-year-old woman, the other kidney had gone to a 50-year-old man and he had given sight to two different people. In addition the tendons from his legs and his heart valves were also saved.

Since Mr Brian’s death more than 1,400 people have joined a Facebook tribute page called R.I.P. Mr Brian, and his family have received more than 100 cards of condolence.

Mrs Brian said: “He was a lovely and happy man, a dedicated teacher and he will be greatly missed.

“I’m grateful for all the support from everybody since Steve’s death.

“He was really interested in so many things, he was very keen on cycling and a strong supporter of the bike rescue scheme in York.

“He was a brilliant preacher in church and he really loved photography and science.”

The couple married seven years ago and Mr Brian was a stepfather to David, 29, and James, 21.

James described him as a very patient step-dad.

He said: “He did everything he could for us. He gave me private tutoring at home and he was a brilliant teacher, he just had a way of making science interesting.”

An initial police investigation into Mr Brian’s death has been closed and an inquest was opened and adjourned last week at York Coroner’s Court.

Mr Brian’s funeral will be held tomorrow at St Chad’s Church, Knavesmire at 1pm.

• Mr Brian’s story demonstrates how lives can be changed A record number of transplants were carried out in the UK last year, but demand is also rising.

Joanne Brooks, specialist organ donation nurse at York Hospital, said: “Stephen’s family were obviously aware of his wishes which I’m sure would have helped them to make the decision to donate his organs. “This highlights the need for people to make their decision about organ donation, join the Organ Donor Register and most importantly tell your loved ones what your wishes are.

Organ donation not only saves the life of the person having the transplant but also changes the lives of those around them.”

The Press ran its Lifesavers campaign last year to raise awareness of organ donation and to urge people to join the register.

For more information on organ donation, or to sign up, phone 0300 1232323, visit or text SAVE to 84118.

Opt in or opt out?

BRITAIN currently has an “opt-in” approach to organ donation, meaning people have to actively say if they want their organs to be used for transplants when they die.

Some want the system reversed, so all organs can be used except when people have explicitly removed themselves from the list.

NHS research shows as many as 90 per cent of people support organ donation, but only 29 per cent have signed up.

Those in favour of changing the system say it would reduce waiting lists, but a 2008 report by the UK Organ Donation Taskforce said “presumed consent” would undermine the concept of donation as a gift, could destroy public trust in NHS professionals and the Government, and would be challenging and costly to implement.

York Press: The Press - Comment

A continuing need

THROUGHOUT last year we appealed to the people of York to join a truly life-saving campaign. “Lifesavers” highlighted the urgent need for more organ donors by telling the stories of people whose selfless decision to sign up to the Organ Donor Register helped save the lives of others after their death.

Our campaign may be over, but the need for more donors has not diminished. Which is why today we tell the story of Stephen Brian who died last week.

Mr Brian’s wife, Gillian, says he was a great believer in organ donation and now his kidneys have given new hope for two people, while his eyes have restored the sight for another two.

Mrs Brian says her husband always wanted to help other people and by signing up to the register he has changed the lives of four people.

We would urge everyone reading this to follow his example.

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