UK's longest surviving heart transplant patient dies 38 years after surgery
The UK's longest-surviving single heart transplant patient has died 38 years after his operation.
Steve Syer, from Gloucestershire, died shortly after his 80th birthday.
After his transplant in 1984, Steve devoted his life to promoting the benefits of organ donation alongside his wife Chris.
Steve, who lived in Hucclecote, received one of the early heart transplants in the UK.
The operation was performed by eminent surgeon, Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, and his team at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex.
His transplanted heart came from a young man who had died in a motor accident.
Steve’s widow, Chris, aged 77, said: “He said that young man gave me his heart and he must look after it for the rest of his life - he did just that."
She added: “I remember the first night he came home from Harefield. He rolled over in bed and told me: ‘Chris, I can feel my heart beating’.”
In 2016, Chris gave Steve one of her kidneys at Southmead Hospital, in Bristol, after he had been on dialysis.
Steve's daughter, Clare Lott, said: “My dad was a selfless man who was given another 38 years to live through his heart transplant.”
Ian Mean, chair of Gloucestershire’s Organ Donation Committee, of which Steve and Chris were key members for many years, said Steve was an "amazing ambassador" for organ donation.
"He and Chris were a great double act," he added. "Their energy to tell the story of organ donation - especially to young people in schools is legendary. We owe them a great debt.”
Steve and Chris also became committed to fundraising for the British Heart Foundation six months after his transplant.
Over the years, the couple helped to raise millions of pounds for the charity in Gloucestershire.
Director of organ and tissue donation at NHS Blood and Transplant Anthony Clarkson said: “Steve was such an inspiration to so many and fought tirelessly to raise awareness of organ donation.
“Surviving for more than 38 years following his heart transplant was a remarkable achievement and he was testament to the effect organ donation can have in truly transforming lives.
"Steve was a true gentleman and will be sadly missed.”
Steve, who turned 80 a month before he died, on July 8, leaves being his wife Chris, daughter Clare and son Tim. He also had six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Register your donation decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family.