A grandmother has become a "a friend for life" to her best pal after giving her a kidney.

Jeweller Barbara Hodgson had been told she had only months to live without a transplant, as peritonitis, a major inflammation, set in, gradually destroying her body.

Now Barbara, 53, of Wykeham, near Scarborough, is back at work after her best friend Christine Ashton, a home care assistant, underwent a rare live donor operation.

It became just the third "friendship transplant" carried out at St James's Hospital, in Leeds.

Christine, 57, and Barbara have known each other since their schooldays at Scarborough.

"Barbara is my best friend and I would have done anything to help her.

"When I found out I might be able to donate a kidney I was overjoyed that I could help her to live.

"People have said I was brave, but it's only what any friend would have done". Barbara said: "I wept when Christine made the offer. I just can't thank her enough."

In nine out of ten cases, live donations are only done between immediate family.

It took eight months of tests and screenings before the operation, which took place in adjoining theatres, went ahead. Both women were out of hospital after a couple of weeks.

Steve Bell, the Yorkshire regional transplant coordinator, said: "It is the most precious gift one friend can give to another. It takes someone really special to go through this. That is true friendship".