TRIBUTES have been paid to a Darlington man who died just three weeks after getting a long-awaited heart transplant.

Liam Taylor, 25, who had been waiting for a transplant for three years, was described as funny and brave by his heartbroken family.

They are now urging people to talk about organ donation with their families.

Sarah Taylor, Liam’s mum, said: "He was very brave. When we were scared about operations he was never phased by it and he never complained. He was always laughing at stuff."

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Liam, who had been training as a mechanic before his illness, had been in and out of hospital over the last four years. He had a transplant on September 1 and initially recovered well, returning home three weeks later.

Mrs Taylor said: “He came out and thought it was his new life. After two days he had a turn for the worse and he went back in. They had to put in a pace maker but something happened and he went into cardiac arrest. It wasn’t the surgeon’s fault.”

She added: “Despite what happened we really want to stress the importance of organ donation. It’s important that people think about it. He was jumping for joy when they got in touch to say they had one for him. There are a lot of people who are on the list for a long time."

The Northern Echo:

Liam, aged about 9

Jack, his brother, added: "It’s so important to talk about being an organ donor. The law has changed now so people have to opt out but a lot of families veto it. We’d really like to encourage people to speak to their families about it.”

The average wait for a donor heart transplant in the UK is usually between 18 and 24 months.

The law changed last year so people are assumed to agree to donate their organs, unless they opt out.

The family is also raising money in support of the adult transplant ward at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, where Liam spent months being looked after.

“It was like a second home and the staff were all lovely," added Mrs Taylor. "During Covid we couldn’t see him as much but they always treated him so well and they saved his life on multiple occasions.

"We would like to thank them for their help and for looking after Liam and making him feel comfortable. They treated him like a normal person and they always made him laugh. They were devastated about it."

They have raised more than £2,000 so far which they hope will go towards improving life for other patients with things like entertainment, exercise bikes and physio equipment.

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