Awards thank Suffolk families whose loved ones saved the lives of others

Becky Baker from Ilketshall St Margaret near Bungay - a kidney transplant transformed her life

Becky Baker from Ilketshall St Margaret near Bungay - a kidney transplant transformed her life - Credit: Archant

Eleven people who gave the gift of life through organ donation have been honoured posthumously.

The ceremony – at the Churchgate Meeting House, Bury St Edmunds – saw the presentation of the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation, run in conjunction with the NHS Blood and Transplant service, to the families and loved ones of those who saved and improved other people’s lives through organ donation.

Among those at the ceremony was Becky Baker, from Ilketshall St Margaret, near Bungay, who benefitted from an organ donation.

Mrs Baker, who has children aged six and four, said she had endured poor health for many years leading up to complete kidney failure and then regular dialysis until, ten weeks ago, she received a telephone call in the middle of the night from the NHS telling her a kidney had been identified for her.

She said: “For me this was an unexpected and very emotional opportunity to thank collectively families who have made such a massive decision at a time of so much sadness.

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“This has changed my life, and that of my family, and could change that of others waiting for life-changing or life-saving operations.”

People recognised at the ceremony included: Jennifer Straughier, of Stowmarket, who received the award on behalf of her husband, Keith; Ann Brown, Wickham Market, who received the award for her husband, Richard; John Dawson, Felixstowe, who received the award on behalf of his wife, Jennifer; and Laurence Bowden, Freckenham, who received the award for his wife, Margaret.

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Postal awards were sent to: Valerie Sharman, of Haverhill, for her husband, Michael; Kym Cromarty, Clacton-on-Sea, on behalf of her father, Victor; and Marc Beckerton, Watton, on behalf of his wife, Katie.

Joanna Spicer, chairman of the County Priory Group of the Order of St John, said: “With thousands of people in the UK in need of a transplant, we felt it was important to say thank you to the families whose loved ones have already donated their organs. These families are an inspiration to all.

“With around three people dying every day due to the shortage of organs, we hope these families’ pride will encourage many more to follow in their footsteps and agree to become an organ donor.”

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