Memorial to be dedicated to South Tyneside organ donors

Sandra Burn, who has lost her daughter Gillian Lyon.
Sandra Burn, who has lost her daughter Gillian Lyon.

People who saved the lives of others after their death are to remembered with a special memorial plaque.

Fourteen families have been invited to South Tyneside District Hospital where the unveiling of the plaque to organ donors will take place.

“There was nothing which could be done to save Gillian’s life, but it’s nice to know she has gone on to save someone else’s life.”

Sandra Burn

The dedication is to honour those who have given people the gift of life following their death through organ donation in the past six years.

Sandra Burn will be at the event, where her daughter Gillian Lyon will be remembered.

The grandmother, 42, from South Shields lost her life after suffering a bleed on the brain in 2012.

Following her death her son Andrew and her mum Mrs Burn made the brave decision to honour Miss Lyon’s wishes and allowed her kidney to be donated to help someone else.

Mrs Burn, from South Shields, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled Gillian is going to be recognised. It’s such an honour.

“It was something they had talked about four years ago but for whatever reason it never happened.

“I’m so glad it is going ahead now. It is so important these people are recognised but also the issue of organ donation should be highlighted more.”

He added: “There was nothing which could be done to save Gillian’s life, but it’s nice to know she went on to save someone else’s.”

The families will be invited to attend a service in the hospital’s chapel before the plaque will be unveiled in the Catherine Cookson Garden.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive Ken Bremner said: “It is important to publicly recognise individual organ donors and their families for their contribution to saving, or helping to change, the lives of others. That is why I am delighted that we now have our own memorial acknowledging and celebrating the contribution of our local donors whose families should all feel very proud.”

Dr Sanjay Deshpande, the Trust’s clinical lead for organ donation, stressed the importance of people joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and telling those close to them that they have done so.

He said. “Organs have to be transplanted very soon after someone has died and only a very small number of people die in circumstances where they are able to donate their organs so it is vital that more people join the register and have the discussion about their views on organ donation.”