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Strood father-of-three Brian Banks collects Order of St John after 'inspiring' wife Rosemary donated organs that saved four


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A devoted husband has paid tribute to his “inspiring” wife whose decision to donate her organs gave the gift of life to four people after her death.

Brian Banks admitted his first reaction was to refuse when asked about donating Rosemary’s lungs, liver and kidneys.

But then he found she had signed up to the donor register without telling him so he went ahead and gave his consent.

Brian with the Order of St John
Brian with the Order of St John

Mr Banks, from Strood, and the couple’s three children, Robert, 45, Paul, 43 and Rachel, 37, have now collected the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation on her behalf.

Mrs Banks, 63, who worked in Woolworths in Strood until she retired in 2005, fell ill suddenly in December last year and was taken to hospital. Within an hour of being admitted to intensive care, she was clinically dead and being kept alive on a ventilator.

Her husband of 49 years said of the organ donation request: “My first reaction was no but we spoke about it as best we could as we were all in shock. We came to the conclusion that it must have been her wish.

Rosemary donated her organs when she died last year and has been posthumously awarded an Order of St John
Rosemary donated her organs when she died last year and has been posthumously awarded an Order of St John

“Me and Rose had spoken about it when all the adverts were on television years ago but she must have gone ahead and just not told me.”

Her lungs were given to a woman in her 20s with genetic lung disease who had been waiting for two and a half years, and a mother-of-two in her 40s received Mrs Banks’ liver after cysts had damaged her own.

Brian with the Order of St John
Brian with the Order of St John

A man who had been waiting eight and a half years received one of her kidneys and her other kidney went to a woman in her 20s who had been waiting two and a half years.

Mr Banks, 67, said his wife’s donation had inspired people who knew her, including himself, to sign up to the register.

He said: “Rose was a very special person, she was 63 but she was young. She was very active and full of enthusiasm. She always put other people first and she gave gifts of life to four other people with her organs.”

Brian and Rosmary with their children, from left to right, Paul, Rachel and Robert
Brian and Rosmary with their children, from left to right, Paul, Rachel and Robert

The Banks family collected the award at a ceremony in Oxted, Surrey.

The Order of St John award, run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, is presented to the families of those who saved and improved people’s lives through organ donation.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit or call 0300 123 2323 or text SAVE to 62323.


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