News and Events

The gift of life at Christmas

View profile for Leah Woodnott
  • Posted
  • Author
The gift of life at Christmas

I recently watched Netflix’s “Last Christmas” starring Emilia Clarke which is a romantic comedy whereby the main character Kate falls for a man called Tom at Christmas time and the film documents their journey together in London on their Christmas adventure.

Spoiler alert! It transpires at the end of the film that Kate realises that Tom is the organ donor whose heart she received the previous Christmas, and that Tom is imaginary.

The film documents how Kate’s life has been saved by Tom and shows that you could impact someone’s life by donating your organs when you have passed away.

The law behind organ donation changed in May 2020, in order to try and save more lives.  The law now states that everyone is signed up to be an organ donor, if they are over the age of 18, you have not opted out and you are not in an excluded group, i.e. those that do not have mental capacity to make such a decision, visitors in England, people who have lived in England for less than 12 months.

 If you do not want to be an organ donor then you have to fill out the NHS’s online form and opt out.

If you consent to being an organ donor, then you can decide whether you want to donate all or some of your organs once you have passed away.  Organs that you can donate include your heart, lungs, kidney, liver, pancreas and small bowel. In addition, you can choose to donate your cornea, bone and tissue.

If you have already recorded your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, then you can change your mind at any time, by simply updating your details on the NHS website.

The organ donation operation is performed as soon as possible after someone passes away and so the body will be returned to the family, as like any other passing where an organ donation has not taken place.  It is also still possible for you to have an open casket funeral if you so wish, as your body will be clothed for the service and there will be no visible signs of the organ donation or tissue donation.

Whatever you decide, whether it be to donate your organs or opt out, then it is important that you discuss your wishes with your families and document your wishes accordingly.

You can also document in your will or side letter that you would like to or would not like to donate your organs and we can keep this on our file for you.

If you would like to make a will documenting your organ donation wishes or wish to write a Side Letter to accompany your existing will then please do not hesitate to contact one of our will specialists. I am based in our Colchester office and can be contacted by telephone on 01206 217609 or