Saving lives after death

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A young cricketer who died of a brain haemorrhage has saved at least three lives after his organs were transplanted.

Former Hazelwick student Craig Botting was on the point of settling down with the love of his life when he died.

Craig, 24, and his girlfriend Aimee Wardley, of Maidenbower, were ‘inseparable’, according to his mother, Christine, and were saving for a place together.

Instead, Craig’s life was snatched from him after a ‘spontaneous subarachnoid haemorrhage’ that devastated his family and friends including Aimee, Christine, his father, Richard - who he worked with as an electrician - and his sister Charlotte, 27, of Tilgate.

But Christine said the fact that Craig’s organs had been taken and used to save at least three lives - with cells from organs such as his liver contributing to saving many more - was giving the family comfort in the midst of their tragedy.

Christine, 47, of Balcombe, said: “Craig was a very warm person and known for his big heart and now it is saving someone else’s life.”

Despite the awareness of organ transplant and donation, it is unusual for organs from a young person such as Craig to become available.

His heart went to a man in his mid-20s who was on the critical list and whose case was designated ‘super urgent’.

Elsewhere, one of Craig’s kidneys went to a man in his late 20s who had been on dialysis since 2011, while another kidney and his pancreas went to a man in his 40s who had already had a heart transplant.

Christine said: “That makes us think he must be a very special man to have two transplants on two occasions.”

She added: “We never thought we would be in this position but Craig died suddenly and wouldn’t have known anything about it.

“To know your child wasn’t in any pain is comforting, but also to know your child lives on in other people makes it a bit easier and I just hope those people have full and happy lives.”

Craig, an all-rounder and member of Balcombe Cricket Club, died on April 15.

Christine said the decision to allow his organs to be removed had taken ‘minutes’ as the family knew he would have wanted it. She urged people to let their families know if they wished to be donors so that more organs would become available.