Pioneering Market Harborough kidney transplant patient dies

Brenda Wilford who passed away last week had a liver transplant back in 1992.
Brenda Wilford who passed away last week had a liver transplant back in 1992.

A woman who had a pioneering liver transplant operation in 1992, has died in Market Harborough after more than 23 extra years.

Brenda Wilford (72) was front page news in the Harborough Mail when she first had the life-saving operation, which then had only a 70 per cent success rate.

She is believed to be one of the longest-lived liver transplant patients from that era.

Her husband Neil (74), a former magistrate, told the Mail: “She was told she had weeks to live in 1992, so we were grateful for the extra years.

“But this early transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London was the start of an unbelievably difficult medical journey for her.

“Neither of us realised what a roller-coaster it would be. When we went on holiday, for example, we took a suitcase just for her drugs and medication.

“But she was a very brave lady and bore everything in a dignified manner.”

He added: “Brenda gave talks on organ donation and always said it was vital for everyone to carry a donor card. She believed instead of ‘opting in’ to the card system, they should be given to everyone with the choice to ‘opt out’.”

The couple, both from the Pontefract area of Yorkshire, had two children and four grandchildren.

Mrs Wilford worked as a home care assistant and also ran an Age Concern lunch club in Market Harborough, was a former president of the Market Harborough Townswomen’s Guild, a former president of Arthingworth WI and the founder of the U3A Bridge group in Market Harborough.

“She was also one of the most selfless people you could ever meet” said Mr Wilford.

A memorial service for Brenda Wilford will be held at the Methodist Church on Northampton Road, Market Harborough at 1pm on Monday, February 22.