The family of a loving father who helped save the lives of strangers after his death have spoken of their pride that he has been recognised with an award.
Emma Robertson’s life was turned upside down when she was told her husband of nine years would not wake from his coma after suffering a brain aneurysm.
It was Gary who signed up to become an organ donor - all I done was carry out his wishes.Emma Robertson
But through the heartache of saying her final goodbye to the father of her three children, Caitlin, 12 Ben, 10 and Joe, five, she took the brave decision to honour his wishes to become an organ donor.
That decision went on to help save the lives of four people and help countless others.
Now Gary, who died on March 9 2012 – his 39th birthday – has been recognised posthumously with the Order of St John Award.
The accolade arrived at the family home in Hebburn earlier this week.
Mrs Robertson, 36, said: “Right now there are people who are walking around living their life who would otherwise not be here, if it wasn’t for Gary. You just can’t put into words how that makes you feel.
“It was Gary who signed up to become an organ donor – all I did was carry out his wishes.
“And for him now to receive the recognition for that decision, you just can’t help but feel immense pride.
“I am so proud of Gary, I am so proud to be able to say I am his wife and the kids are so proud to call him their dad.”
The award is run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant and is presented to the families and loved ones of those who saved and improved people’s lives through organ donation.
Last year, between April 2014 and March 2015, the number of deceased organ donors in the UK dropped for the first time in 11 years.
NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for others to be inspired by this selfless act.
Everyone in the UK is urged to discuss organ donation with their families and share their decision about what they would do if called on to donate.
To be an organ donor visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk