A desperate mother is hoping the New Year will bring her fresh hope in the search for a second heart donor to save her son's life.

Nine-year-old Peter Porton was just one when he received his first transplant.

But now the heart is failing and regularly stops beating, leaving his mum in agony as she watches her little boy collapse in front of her.

For the past six months Peter has had to return to hospital at least once a week and has had a pacemaker fitted to try to regulate his heartbeat.

His mother, Deborah, said she is taking each day at a time, but she is hoping 2002 will be Peter's year.

The mother-of-five, from Sunderland, said: "It's only a month since he went on the waiting list for a new heart, but it feels longer when every moment of every day you are waiting for the phone to ring for the news you long to hear.

"We always knew the heart wouldn't last forever, but I hoped we would get a few more years before Peter needed another transplant. He has been so well these last few years it's agony to see him ill again.

"Outwardly he looks okay but his heart is very weak and it is worrying for us all."

Peter is one of 130 people, six of them children, waiting for a heart or lung transplant at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle. There are 335 people waiting for a kidney transplant and about 50 waiting for a new liver. Lynn Holt, transplant coordinator at the Freeman, said the present situation was desperate.