Brave transplant survivor dies

Derek Hunter''January 1992
Derek Hunter''January 1992
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A remarkable Morecambe man who was the longest surviving double transplant patient in the North West has died.

Derek Hunter (pictured) from Westgate had a life-saving heart and double lung transplant in 1990.

He passed away recently in hospital after suffering kidney and liver failure. Derek’s daughter,

Debbie Wood from Morecambe, paid tribute to her caring dad: “He was a fun, bubbly, outgoing character and full of life. Dad was a positive man – he had no fears and had a good outlook on life.

“He was a big advocate for transplants and even on his hospital bed, he went to talk to other patients worried about the procedure.”

For the last 20 years Derek had been taking anti-rejection drugs but these took their toll.

Debbie said: “The drugs had eaten away at his kidneys and liver so he was suffering from kidney failure and liver disease. His kidneys had packed up completely.

“There were talks of him undergoing a double kidney and liver transplant but he wouldn’t have survived. He was in Manchester Royal Hospital for two-and-a-half months and spent his 65th birthday in hospital.

“We had all mentally prepared ourselves but he was so ill and in so much pain.”

Derek underwent his double transplant at Whythenshawe Hospital. Speaking in 2010, he said: “I would have been dead within six weeks if I hadn’t received the transplant.”

Derek, who was featured on Granada television when he celebrated his 20th anniversary after surgery, received his donor organs from a 19-year-old woman who had fallen off a horse and suffered brain damage.

Debbie said: “My dad actually met the donor’s parents after writing to them for a couple of years.”

After his transplant, Derek and his family held various events at Wythenshawe Hospital and around the 20th anniversary date, an event was held at Morecambe Cricket Club to raise money for New Start, the charity which supports the transplant unit at the hospital.

Derek made sure he lived life to the full playing darts, pool and snooker.

Following his death his local darts team held a minute’s silence in his memory.

He also participated in the British Transplant Games where he won a couple of medals.

Debbie added: “He always looked on the bright side of life.

“On Christmas Day we raised a glass to my dad.”

Derek leaves a wife Cath, son and daughter John and Debbie, daughter-in-law Lyndsey and sister Pauline.

If you would like to register to be a donor you can visit where you can sign up.