A West Kilbride widow has accepted the Order of St John UK Award for Organ Donation on behalf of her late husband, who died unexpectedly in December 2020 aged just 55.

Before builder Gavin Wilson’s sudden passing, he was encouraged to become an organ donor, and in turn has saved the lives of four people.

His wife Gillian is now highlighting the importance of sharing your donation decision with loved ones this Organ and Tissue Donation Week (September (20-26).

Deli owner Gillian, 49, said: “A gift that the donor journey has given me is that when I tell people what happened, I can finish the story with ‘Gavin saved four lives’, and we can end the story on high note.

“In our family, we had always spoken freely about organ donation so the kids knew what we’d have wanted. Gavin had donated blood all his life, and we’d actually had a conversation with all our kids when they were old enough to make their own decision.”

Gillian and her family wish to raise the importance of having a conversation about organ donation with loved ones before it is too late.

She continued: “When Gavin went to work that Wednesday, he was fit and healthy, so when I got a call at 11:30am to say he was at the hospital, I rushed straight there with my daughter.

“Things weren’t looking good, and the doctors said there was nothing they could do but wait.

“We decided to approach the staff about organ donation as we’d seen how upset they all were for us, and we knew we had to move quickly. From that moment on, something in your brain just clicks and you can’t think about what you’ve just been told, instead my focus switched to donation and the importance of fulfilling my husband’s wishes to be an organ donor.”

Gillian and Gavin had made sure to speak openly about organ donation with their four children, and about their wishes to become organ donors.

She continued: “As a family, we are still struggling with the loss of our wonderful Gavin, but to be able to donate to others and give the gift of life, has brought us enormous comfort.

“We were able to turn something so tragic into something so positive. It doesn’t make everything okay, but it helps. It has been a positive ending to such a heart-breaking situation. We can’t tell you how incredibly proud we are of my husband; he’s done an amazing thing.”

As of September 6 2021, 54 per cent of the Scottish population had recorded their donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

To record a donation decision go online at www.organdonationscotland.org.