Two members of same Norfolk family die from brain aneurism within days of each other

Amanda and David Walker.

Amanda and David Walker. - Credit: Archant

It was the death of a close relative that sparked Keith Gedge's interest in becoming an organ donor.

Valerie Gedge lost her husband Keith last year and has now received a posthumous organ donor award.P

Valerie Gedge lost her husband Keith last year and has now received a posthumous organ donor award.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

His nephew, David Walker, had been on the register for most of his adult life – and when he died suddenly from a brain aneurism, Mr Gedge was inspired to put his own name down.

But, just days later, Mr Gedge himself collapsed at his home and died shortly afterwards – from the same condition as Mr Walker.

As a result of his recent interest in becoming a donor, his widow, Valerie, agreed his organs could be used to help others.

Now, a year after their deaths, both men have been honoured for their donations.

Valerie Gedge lost her husband Keith last year and has now received a posthumous organ donor award.P

Valerie Gedge lost her husband Keith last year and has now received a posthumous organ donor award.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Mrs Gedge, of Norton Subcourse, in South Norfolk, said: 'Keith had just come back from hospital for a check up as he was working offshore and they said everything was perfect.

'But on the Wednesday he came out of the shower and just collapsed on the settee.

Most Read

'We had never talked about becoming donors before because it was not something you think about.

'But he was so proud of David for being one and thought it was a fantastic thing to do.

'I remember Keith saying 'if anything was to ever happen to me, please me make a donor'.'

Mr Gedge, 64, had suffered a bleed on the brain less than three weeks after the death of his 50-year-old nephew in January last year.

The offshore technician was rushed to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and put on the same critical care unit that his nephew had been on.

He died days later and, following discussions with his family, Mrs Gedge agreed to sign him up as an organ donor.

The 66-year-old said: 'I know he would have agreed with it because of the way he spoke when David died.

'I would encourage others to become donors and I feel that even if I can help only one person, it is worth it.'

The family of both donors received awards on their behalf at a special ceremony in December.

Mr Gedge's kidney and heart were used for research, while Mr Walker gave at least six organs to people on the waiting list.

Mr Walker's widow, Amanda, who lives in Cawston, said: 'We both signed up as donors at the same time electronically because they [The NHS Blood and Transplant team] were outside The Forum (in Norwich).

'His mother said when David had his first motorbike he had wanted to donate his organs, so it was something he had always wanted to do.'

Mr Walker, a devoted Norwich City supporter and Doctor Who fan, died less than two weeks before his 51st birthday from a bleed on the brain.

He was described as a quiet family-orientated man, with a good sense of humour.

Mrs Walker, 50, said: 'It's surreal that Keith collapsed at home a few weeks after David and would be taken on the same ward.'

'They [NHS Blood and Transplant] were the best team to deal with. Because even though there was so much sadness and desolation, they were helpful and supported me all the way through.'

To become an organ donor call NHS Blood and Transplant on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter