FAMILY ties proved as strong as steel for two cousins after one jetted half way around the world to donate her kidney.

Paula Rowlett, 32, a lecturer at St Helens College, is on the mend at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital thanks to cousin Lynley Everest, 40, who took a 24-hour trip from Australia to undergo the procedure on Monday, July 21.

It will give Paula, a talented singer who performs at venues across the town, the opportunity to experience life without dialysis for the first time in years.

Paula discovered she had kidney failure in March 2012 after going to the doctor with a throat infection.

Following a series of tests she started home dialysis the following October.

She was able to maintain a relatively normal life, keeping her job and undergoing treatment on her lunch breaks. However Paula was constantly tired and found she was no longer able to do many of the activities she once could.

Her family was asked whether they would be willing to donate a kidney and that is when Lynley stepped forward - despite being 10,000 miles away.

Following a visit to England last year, Lynley saw what it life was like for Paula on dialysis and it was then that she decided to put herself forward.

Lynley said: “A lot of people asked me ‘when did you decide?’ But it didn’t ever occur to me not to do this.”

Last November Lynley, who is a sales and financial manager from New South Wales, underwent tests back home to see if she was a match.

She added: “The testing process was pretty vigorous. I was tested for multiple sclerosis, diabetes and cancer.

“Once I found out Paula was unwell I did the research. Paula is an incredibly positive person. What a lot of people would moan about, she doesn’t. It’s just her character.”

Lynley who flew to the UK just one week before the operation will have to remain in the country to ensure that there are no post-operative complications.

Luckily her employer allowed her the time off.

“The hospital has been absolutely fabulous,” she added. “I’ve never been in hospital before so I didn’t know what to expect, but I can’t fault them. From testing to coming here, everybody has been marvellous.”