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UK's first double hand transplant patient to clap his rugby team onto field

Chris King will applaud the Leeds Rhinos onto the pitch on Monday Credit: Press Association

The first person in the UK to have a double hand transplant will fulfil one of his dreams on Easter Monday as he applauds the Leeds Rhinos rugby team out onto the pitch.

Chris King, from Rossington in South Yorkshire, lost both hands in an industrial accident at his work four years ago.

The rugby fan will be celebrated as the team's guest of honour as he returns to see them in action for the first time since undergoing the complex transplant to replace both hands at Leeds General Infirmary in July.

The match will pitch the Rhinos against Widnes Vikings.

Mr King's surgeon, Professor Simon Kay examines his new hands Credit: Press Association

Mr King, 57, was close to death following his accident.

Medics at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital managed to save his life and enough of his lower limbs to enable the later transplant surgery.

Consultant plastic surgeon Professor Simon Kay performed Britain's first hand transplant on Mark Cahill at the LGI and also did King's double transplant.

Chris King hopes hand transplants will become a routine operation Credit: Press Association

King and Cahill are now friends and LGI is hoping the procedure will one day be as routine as a kidney transplant.

"Become a donor and live your life to the full like I want to live now," King said.

After the operation last year, the donor's family issued a statement which said: "Our brother was a kind, caring and considerate person who would have given the shirt off his back to help somebody in need.

"Learning that he had registered as an organ donor made our decision to support him donating so much easier."