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Loving mum keeps donor battle alive; Man of the People.

Nearly 25 years ago The People wrote about pioneering surgeon Michael Bewick's search for kidney donors - and helped 19-year-old Tim Ward to get a new life.

Our story was read by a young man who discussed being a donor if anything should happen to him.

Just a few days later, he was fatally injured in a car crash. Tests proved he was a suitable donor for Tim.

Mr Bewick approached the young man's family and, because they'd read The People, they understood the problem and agreed to him taking a donor kidney.

Tim began his brave 15-year battle. He finally died in 1987. He was 34 and had endured 42 operations.

Tim's mother Elizabeth worked tirelessly for more life-saving transplants. Her initiative led to the founding of the British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA), as a tribute to Tim.

This month the association celebrates its 21st birthday and Mrs Ward, 69, is still the driving force behind it. She has been described as a mixture of Margaret Thatcher and Mother Teresa - an apt description for a woman who first forced a reluctant Government to introduce the organ donor-card scheme.

Her first brilliant publicity move was to advertise in The Times personal column for a kidney for her son, then 17. The advert created a wave of enormous sympathy.

Mrs Ward has been an immense influence on the medical profession and on the thousands who have benefited from her work. She feels privileged that some-thing so constructive has developed from Tim's case.

Since its inception the BKPA has raised more than pounds 30 million, some of which has gone to help create:

The pounds 500,000 children's renal unit at York Hill Hospital, Glasgow.

The pounds 420,000 paediatric renal unit at Guy's Hospital, London, named Timbo Ward after her son.

The pounds 750,000 children's renal unit in Birmingham, opened by Mrs Ward herself.

She has been honoured with an MBE and an OBE but has no plans to retire. She says simply: "There's still so much work to do!"

I am sending the association pounds 250 and if YOU would like to help, send donations to: BKPA, Bordon, Hants GU35 9JZ.

'Help to save my

friend'

I have received a moving note from 14-year-old Nathan Bostock about the plight of his friend Gavin Evans.

Nathan, of Aberystwyth, Mid Wales, says: "I'm lucky, I have a good life and a future. But Gavin hasn't.

"He's had three operations for a brain tumour but they haven't helped much and he's had to have loads of chemotherapy and other painful treatment.

"We used to play and go to school together but he is too ill now. He has suffered so much and been so brave.

"Everyone is working hard to raise funds to get him to the US for treatment. Can you help?"

Gavin's mum Caroline tells me pounds 27,000 has been raised towards the estimated pounds 60,000 needed to get him to America by persuading people to donate stamps and holiday coins.

His battle against the brain tumour has been fought over six years.

Gavin, now 15, insists that if his treatment works, the fund should be used to aid other children with a similar complaint.

I'm sending pounds 250 to the Gavin Evans Trust Fund.

And if YOU would like to join in with holiday change or stamps, the fund is based at: Y Fron, Cwmystwyth, near Devil's Bridge, Aberystwyth, Dyfed SY23 4AD.

No cure for Banana split

Has the world gone Bananaramas? The delightful Siobhan Fahey of Shakespears Sister and Bananarama fame has decided that her marriage to fellow rocker Dave Stewart is, well...on the rocks. The reason? The man's a hypochondriac - to such an extent he even had his appendix out in Bangkok when he only had wind.Dave admits it got to the point where Siobhan was stepping over him to make the tea whenever he collapsed with some imagined illness. And I thought a sense of humour could keep any couple out of the divorce courts...

Smile, Gordon's here!

A Man Of The People award goes this week to GORDON WILLIAMS, who devotes his life to helping people with handicaps or learning difficulties - and making them smile.

Widower Gordon, 71, of Driffield, East Yorks, organises sports for the disabled, drives them for miles to see their favourite games, or pushes them in their wheelchairs.

He has been doing this great work for 40 years in the East Yorkshire area - full-time since retiring as a printer.

Maureen Burdekin, another volunteer, from Bridlington, has nominated him for our certificate.

She says: "Gordon works quietly without fuss. He's always on call and devoted to helping others.

"He touches so many lives - and spreads so much happiness."
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Petrie, Tom
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Sep 15, 1996
Words:789
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