Essex woman appears on The One Show to explain how it inspired her husband to save five lives

Nicola Newnes, a mum of two from Basildon in Essex, appeared on The One Show tonight to reveal how the show inspired her husband to save lives.

24 January 2018

Organ Donation campaign tells Londoners that ‘Words Save Lives’

Words save lives campaign image

Nicola Newnes, a mum of two from Basildon in Essex, appeared on The One Show tonight to reveal how the show inspired her husband to save lives. A piece about organ donation they watched prompted her and her husband, Darren, to talk about the subject and he made clear he’d be happy to donate. He then went on to save five lives when he died.

Two months after the programme that got them talking, Darren unexpectedly collapsed and died following complications from a cyst on the brain, and Nicola told nurses he wanted to donate. Darren’s heart, lungs, kidney, pancreas and liver went to people desperately in need of transplants.

50-year-old Nicola, who appeared with her 14-year-old daughter Ellie and 8-year-old son George, said: “We’d had a conversation a few months before he died while we were watching TV. There was an appeal on The One Show for more people to become donors and I just asked him if he’d do it if anything happened and he said ‘of course I would’.
“He helped give five people a chance at a new start in life and that’s brilliant. I’m so proud of him.”

DJ Trevor Nelson was a guest on The One Show tonight speaking about the need for more people to be aware and talk about donation he said: “I think the next generation will be a lot more in step and in tune with the need to do this. It’s moments like this that are so important.” 

Nicola and Darren had been watching an episode on The One Show in April 2016, which featured the parents of 10-year-old donor Evey Staley from the Isle of Wight meeting the recipient of her heart, Scarlett Ungurs from Northumberland. The story of Evey and Scarlett prompted Darren and Nicola to talk.

Nicola and Darren’s story was featured on The One Show tonight in support of NHS Blood and Transplant’s ‘Words Save Lives’ campaign, which is running across London this month. The campaign urges people in the capital to have that all-important conversation and let their families know their decision on whether or not they want to donate their organs after death.

Three in ten people (30%) in London asked about organ donation said they have specifically told their partner or family that they want to donate while a third (33%) of adults across England have done the same.

One in five people in the UK waiting for a transplant is from London.

Families who support their loved one’s decision to donate often say it helps with their grief and that they feel an enormous sense of pride at knowing their relative gave others the chance of a new beginning.

Nicola said: “It was awful losing Darren when he was just 41 as he was fit and healthy and a brilliant dad to our two kids. But donating his organs has helped me deal with my grief and the kids have been great through it all – it’s really helped them too. There was no rhyme nor reason for his death and I really didn’t want him to have died in vain.”

Latest figures show that women are more likely to have had a serious conversation about donation with 38% of women in England specifically stating to their partner or family that they want to be a donor, compared to 29% of men.

Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

“Nicola’s story shows just how important it is to have the conversation with your family about organ donation. Darren saved lives because he made his decision clear and we know that donation is a much easier decision for people to make if they know what their relative wanted – it reduces the risk of them saying no to lifesaving organ donation.

“Thousands of people across the country are given a second chance at life thanks to the organ transplants they receive. This is only possible thanks to those who put other people first and agree to organ donation at the most distressing time in their life.

“However, there are 6,342 people in the UK waiting for lifesaving organ transplants right now so we really need everyone to discuss organ donation: make sure your family knows that you want to donate if you are ever able to. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference”

It is quick and easy to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Visit the organ donation website or contact our 24 hour a day donor line - 0300 123 23 23.

More information on the campaign


  • For additional information contact Pam Pye in the NHS Blood and Transplant Press Office on or 0151 268 7205 
  • Alternatively call the NHSBT Press Office on 01923 367 600 or email
  • For out of hours enquiries please call: 0117 969 2444



NHSBT Notes to editors

  • NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We are responsible for ensuring a safe and efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England. We are also the organ donation organisation for the UK and are responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.

  • Words save lives, talking to your family about donating your organs when you die could save lives.Let’s talk about it.

  • 1 in 5 people waiting for an organ transplant live in London. Have you made your donation decision?

  • Almost half of London families declined to donate their relative’s organs. Discuss your decision with your family, so that they can support your choice and you can support theirs.

  • 3 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant. Don’t delay, think about organ donation today.

  • Organ donors save or transform up to nine people’s lives. Register as a donor and share your decision with your family.