A SURGE IN organ donation has been welcomed by a couple who displayed amazing compassion to help others after their young son died suddenly.

Five-year-old Luca Giovannini gave the gift of life to four others after his death 17 months ago, when his parents, Vickie and Renzo, agreed to donate the organs of their beloved son.

Luca, a pupil at St Hugh’s Catholic Primary School in Timperley, died within two days of an infection causing swelling to his brain.

The lives of two tots and two adults were transformed or saved by them receiving his organs.

Luca’s death received national coverage and the courage and compassion of his parents earned widespread admiration.

The couple have repeatedly appealed for more people to join the Organ Donor Register.

Latest figures reveal that the number of people donating organs after death has risen by 50 per cent nationally - and 27 per cent in the north west - since 2008, meeting a target set by the Organ Donation Taskforce five years ago.

The increase has been largely credited to a network of specialist nurses who approach and support bereaved relatives in hospitals.

Luca’s mum, Vickie, aged 37 - a teacher at Stamford Park Infant School in Hale - said: “This is fantastic news.”

Vickie, who with Renzo also has a three year-old son, Leo, added: “The more people who donate the better.

“You really can help so many people.”

Renzo, from Gatley, added: “This is really positive news - but there is still a shortfall every year.

“Three people a day die waiting for a transplant as there are not enough organs available.

“It is a difficult subject - but people need to talk about it..

“When they do discuss it most people think it is a good thing. it is just a matter of getting around to it.

“If you would be willing to receive an organ if you needed one, you should be willing to give one.”

Bill Fullagar, NHS Blood and Transplant chairman, said of the increase in deceased donors: "This is an outstanding achievement that few thought possible at the time this ambition was set. It is the result of the hard work and dedication of staff in hospitals and communities across the country.

"We must also share our heartfelt thanks with every family who, at a great time of sadness, supported their loves one's wish to donate their organs and transform the lives of up to nine other people."

* Join the e NHS Organ Donor Register by filling in a form online at organdonation.nhs.uk, calling the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or texting SAVE to 62323.

*Vickie and Renzo’s family, friends and supporters have raised tens of thousands for the Donor Family Network, the Encephalitis Society and Reuben’s Retreat, since Luca’s death.