Posthumous award for Shaun Kelly - the man with a ‘heart of gold’

Sharon Kelly and her family receive the award given to her husband Shaun posthumously.
Sharon Kelly and her family receive the award given to her husband Shaun posthumously.

A Derry man who helped to save the lives of others after his own death, by organ donation, has been posthumously recognised with a special award.

A Derry man who helped to save the lives of others after his own death, by organ donation, has been posthumously recognised with a special award.

Shaun Kelly was a well known charity fundraiser and biker.

Shaun Kelly was a well known charity fundraiser and biker.

Shaun Kelly passed away in July 2015 after falling ill suddenly. The father of three was just 45 years-old.

A well known biker and charity fundraiser, Shaun’s family described him as a man with a “heart of gold.”

They said they decided to donate his organs because that is what he would have wanted.

Last week Shaun’s wife Sharon was invited to a special ceremony where 22 people from Northern Ireland who saved lives through organ donation were posthumously honoured at an award ceremony.

Each received the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation, run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, and which was given to their families and loved ones on their behalf.

The private award ceremony was held at Belfast Castle on 24 October 2016 with the awards presented by Dame Mary Peters CH DBE.

Also honoured was Francis Albert Faulkner from Armagh who received the award on behalf of his brother Joseph;

Nicole Bell from Bangor who received the award on behalf of her mother Pauline Allen and Annemaríe Pryor from Belfast who received the award on behalf of her daughter Marie Therese Clarkin;

During 2015/16, thanks to the generosity of these donors and the support of their families, the number of deceased donors in the UK went up from 1,282 to 1,364, a rise of six per cent. However there are still around 6,500 people on the UK transplant waiting list and around three people die each day in need of an organ.

NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for people in Northern Ireland to be inspired by the actions of these donors. Everyone in Northern Ireland is urged to discuss organ donation with their families and join the Organ Donor Register. One day it could be someone you love, or even you, in need of a transplant.