A DAD who underwent lifesaving transplant surgery is urging others to register as organ donors, after new figures showed 11 Essex people died waiting for transplants in the past year.

Wayne Tilbrook, 35, who has Type 1 diabetes, had a kidney and pancreas transplant in May, after spending 18 months on dialysis.

The father-of-three, of Pearson Avenue, Rayleigh, said: “I was diagnosed when I was 15 and the general wear and tear caused strain on my kidneys and they started to fail.

“In nine months, they went from being fairly good to not working at all. I was put on dialysis and went on the list for a transplant.

There were three false alarms before the call came through.

“I would say anybody who hasn’t signed up to the register should definitely do it. It could help so many people – not just the people who get a new organ, but their families too.

“I’m on the register myself.

"Even as a diabetic and someone who has had a transplant, you can still be on the register, give blood and help.”

The latest figures show a total of 177 Essex people are awaiting a transplant.

NHS Blood and Transplant is encouraging residents to make sure their families know their wish to be an organ donor after death.

The organisation says grieving families are more likely to allow organ donation when they are aware of potential donors’ wishes.

Nationally, an average of three people a day die in need of an organ transplant because of a shortage of suitable organs – while 40 per cent of families still refuse to allow their loved ones’ organs to be used, even when asked by doctors.

Campaign supporter, TV doctor Hilary Jones said: “More people are willing to be organ donors than are actually signed up.

“Signing up and telling your relatives of your decision could saves thousands of lives. I’d encourage everybody to consider spelling out your donation decision as potentially the greatest gift you can give anybody.”

Some 559,296 Essex people are alreadty on the NHS Organ Donor Register. To add your name, visit transplantweek.co.uk.