It was a momentous day for organ donation campaigners as Max and Keira’s Law – the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act, came into effect on May 20.

Under the new law, all adults in England are considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate (known as ‘opting out’) or are in one of the excluded groups.

Those excluded groups include people under 18, those who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action; people who have lived in England for less than 12 months; those who are not living here voluntarily and those who have nominated someone else to make the decision on their behalf.

In cases, where the individual hasn’t expressed a decision, specialist nurses will support families to make a decision, based on what their loved ones would have wanted. If the decision is not to donate, this will be honoured and upheld.

The law change has been welcomed by kidney transplant recipients Daymon Johnstone, 29, from Seaton and Paul Caine, 57, from Workington.

Daymon said: “How incredible it is that this law is in place. Without this people like myself couldn’t live life to the full. At the same time it is important people realise that loved ones will get a final say on whether organs are donated or not. It is really important that the family sit down and make that decision. People need to sit down and talk about it and make their wishes known.”

Paul said: “I think it is great, I really do. It’s been a long time coming, from as far back as the early 80s.

"It’s a system that will save lives. It is a great day and a culmination of a lot of work. Let's hope no one needs it, but it will be there if they do. It's sunshine on a dark covid-19 day."

He thinks that people will come out of lockdown with a new appreciation of life and for each other.

He said: "It makes you appreciate life and helps everybody to appreciate what they have got.

"I think we are all going to come out of this kinder and more appreciative of each other, be much more considerate. People are currently missing out on social contact, it is just the way it is in order to get through this, and we will."

Anthony Clarkson, Director of organ and tissue donation and transplantation at NHS said: “We are very pleased that Max and Keira’s Law has passed its final round of parliamentary approval and we welcome the new legislation.

“It is important that people know they will still have a choice whether or not to donate. Families will still be consulted, and people’s faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected.

"We hope this law change will prompt all of us to consider whether or not we would want to donate our organs and encourage us all to register and share our decision with our family and friends.

“We want people to know that there is no deadline to making your donation decision, you can register your choice at any time. We will continue to provide the very best care and support to organ donors and their families, in order to help save more lives through the gift of organ donation.”

For more information, and to register your decision, visit: