A young Luton man who saved lives through the gift of organ donation has been posthumously honoured at a moving awards ceremony.
Billy Gradwell-Smith, 18, became a lifesaving organ donor after passing away in December due to a sudden brain haemorrhage. His kidneys and liver have since been transplanted into three recipients.
His proud family recently attended a special ceremony in London, in which Billy was posthumously honoured with the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation, his father Trevor, mother Jane, sister Hannah, and girlfriend Victoria Wilsher, accepting the award on his behalf.
Billy’s dad Trevor, 48, a station commander for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Billy was a fantastic, positive kid.
“We knew he wanted to donate after a family discussion whilst completing his provisional driving licen ce application online; when given the option about organ donation he put himself on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
“Billy was all for donating everything, anything that could be of use to anybody.
“He said when you are gone you are gone, the organs would be no use to him.”
Billy was in his first year at Warwick University, studying Philosophy and Literature, when during a visit home for the Christmas holidays, he felt unwell with a headache shortly after waking up.
He soon became unresponsive and was urgently taken to hospital.
Billy’s heart was restarted, but his brain injury was severe and he passed away.
The family have since raised money for Herts Air Ambulance, who airliftedBilly to Harefield Hospital.
His family remembered: “Billy was always so positive and wanted to help others.
“He loved both reading and being outdoors and given the choice as a child he always chose a seaside holiday in Devon.”