A TEACHER has been hailed a lifesaver after donating a kidney to one of his pupils.

Selfless Ray Coe, 53, of Kingsmere, Thundersley, stepped in to save Alya Ahmed, 13, after learning she was desperate for a donor.

Mr Coe, who used to work at the Deanes School in Thundersley, went in for the successful transplant at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital in February.

Alya, from Stratford, suffers from a condition called hydrocephalus, which causes water on the brain and has left her with severe learning difficulties. She has also suffered renal failure.

Mr Coe, now a special educational needs co-ordinator at Royal Docks Community School in London, decided to do it after being told by Ayla’s mum that she would have to be absent from school to undergo kidney dialysis.

Mr Coe, who was a teacher at the Deanes for five years, said: “I just asked her if there was anything I could do to help – and she said could I give her the name of a donor.

“Something inside me just clicked and I said ‘what about me’. It just felt right.”

Against all the odds, blood tests showed they were a match.

They are both now recovering from the operation and hope to return to school after Easter.

Mr Coe added: “I don’t feel like a hero. It’s the NHS staff who helped us who are the heroic ones.

“Until people started saying to me how amazing it was it, it just seemed like a normal thing anyone would do.

“The family were overjoyed and so appreciative. The good news is Alya is so much better now.”

Alya’s father, Ahmed Ali, praised Mr Coe, saying: “He has given her more than just the gift of life. He’s an amazing man – we owe him so much.”