A woman who needs corneal transplants to save her eyesight recalled how donating her dead son’s organs helped her find solace from the “misery” if his death.

Christine Grove’s son Paul was just 21 when he died in a motorbike accident in early November 2001.

The mother-of-three didn’t hesitate to donate her son’s organs and tissue.

An advocate for organ donation, Christine has welcomed change in the law this spring, in which people who do not wish to donate their organs will need to opt out, rather than opting in.

Paul helped save and transform the lives of at least eight people through successful kidney, liver, heart valve and corneal transplants.

Christine, 46, recalled how a letter from one of those who benefitted brought joy to the family while they were grieving.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Paul with his father Peter Grove

She said: “A couple of years after Paul died I decided to write to his donor recipients to tell them a bit about him and send a picture. I got a few replies, and one in particular had me sobbing with joy.

“It was from a man who had one of his kidneys. He said it was miracle as he and his wife had been devastated when they found out she couldn’t be a living donor for him, right at the final hurdle. He said Paul’s gift had changed his life and that he would always be part of their family. He had three children himself and one was Paul’s age. It was just so joyful in the misery of it all, to know that Paul had made a difference.”

Christine, of Romford, found out this year that she herself may need a corneal transplant in the future after developing Fuchs dystrophy, an eye disorder.

She added: “It led to a conversation with the team in the Eye department at Queen’s Hospital about the importance of raising awareness of tissue donation. People know about organ donation, but they don’t realise you can also give tissue, including your eyes.”

Paul had encouraged the whole family to get donor cards before his death. Christine said: “His dad was a bit unsure at first and it was Paul who told him not to be ridiculous and that it wouldn’t matter to him if he was dead!”

And Christine thinks the new laws are a “brilliant idea”. She added: “A lot of people who do believe in organ donation don’t get around to opting in, this way their organs can still be donated, which will mean many more will be available to save lives.

“When I was at Paul’s bedside, a nurse called me brave for donating his organs. You don’t become brave, you have a choice to make. You’ve already lost the person anyway, and to know, in my case, he’s really helped people, is just amazing.”

Find out more about tissue donation online: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/helping-you-to-decide/about-organ-donation/tissue-donation/