The Government has announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, Max and Kiera’s Law – the Organ Donation (deemed consent) Act – will come into effect on May 20.

From the time of the change, all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their organs, when they die, unless they record a decision not to, in what is known as ‘opt out’, or are in one of the excluded groups.

Those excluded will be people under 18, those who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action; and people who have lived in England for less than 12 months or are not living here voluntarily.

Anthony Clarkson, director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Organ donation is and always will be a precious gift.

“And if more people are inspired to support and agree to donation, then more lives can be saved.”

Max Johnson, the 12-year-old heart recipient, who championed the law change, and in return saw the law named after him and his young donor, Kiera Ball, said: “I am proud that when people speak about Max and Kiera’s Law, they will be reminded to think of Kiera.”

In Northumberland, 141,191 people are registered as being organ donors, as of January 2020, which is approximately a third of the county’s population, whilst 29 people across the Tyne Valley area are on the active transplant list.

Alicia Armstrong, from Hexham, is just one person across the region who has benefited from organ donation, receiving a bone marrow transplant seven years ago.

The leukaemia survivor, who has participated at the World Transplant Games, said: “It is hard to sum up the power of organ donation and impact that is has on so many individual lives.

“I have experienced this first-hand, as a recipient, and as a friend to so many who have been saved by the gift of life.”

She added: “The change in law, for us, as transplantees, offers hope for all those on the same journey as the impact it will make is greatly significant.

“Currently so many families override their loved-ones decisions and simply there is just not enough organs for all of the people in need.

“I know so many people through the transplant games, who have been saved by a donor, and hopefully now many more can be like us.”

Lesley Moore, of Prudhoe, was able to carry out her husband John's wishes of being an organ donor, following his sudden death in October.

She said: “When I signed the organ donor register, I never really thought there would be a time where it would impact my life, and I’m sure it was the same for John.”

She added: “In fact, we had never really talked about dying, why would we?

“He was only 43 when he died.

“Going through such a traumatic event, where I had no control over what was happening, felt like free falling, but making sure John’s wishes were carried out gave me a way of having some control.

“Knowing that he was doing something so selfless to save other people/children’s lives did/does help.

“I think the change in legislation is positive.

“We all want to know in the most horrific of circumstances somebody would make the same decision we made with John.

“Having to opt out, rather than opt in, will undoubtedly benefit more people and reduce waiting times for vital life saving operations.”