NEW figures have shown that 23 people from County Durham became lifesaving deceased organ donors over the last year, helping the UK reach its highest ever number of donors.

More and more families in the area are supporting donation with a 77 per cent increase over the last decade.

NHS Blood and Transplant has released the figures to mark the publication of its annual Transplant Activity Report.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to all the families in County Durham who have chosen to say ‘yes’ to organ donation. Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people.

"We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to save lives through organ donation. We want more people to have that opportunity.”

However the overall shortage of donors remains and there is an urgent need for more people to support donation.

There are still 77 people from the County Durham area on the transplant waiting list and a donated organ is the last and only hope for many people on the list.

People can register at