"DESPITE the horrible thing that happened with us losing Violet, organ donation gave us something positive out of that."

Those are the words of Violet-Grace's dad Glenn Youens following the new figures that revealed that 51 people from Merseyside became lifesaving organ donors last year, with seven of those coming from St Helens - just like his superhero daughter.

NHS Blood and Transplant released the figures in its annual Transplant Activity Report on Monday, July 9, revealing that there is growing support for organ donation in the region and around the country - helping the UK reach the highest number of donors ever.

Nationally, there was a record number of organ donors, with 1,574 people saving lives through deceased organ donation last year.

However, the overall shortage of donors remains, with 14 people from St Helens still on the transplant waiting list, highlighting the urgent need for more people to support donation.

Around three people die a day in need of a donated organ but many people have never told their relatives they want to save lives. Letting your family know that you want to donate will make it much easier for them to support what you want.

The news has been welcomed by the family of four-year-old Violet-Grace Youens from Eccleston, who saved two lives after she tragically died after being struck by a speeding car on Prescot Road in March 2017.

Her pancreas and kidneys went on to save two people.

Her parents Glenn and Becky Youens have been determined to carry on their daughter's name and legacy as an organ donor and encourage others to think about donation and discuss it with their families.

Glenn, 30, said: "When I meet people I always say I have two children, and eventually it comes up about Violet not being here anymore.

"But because of organ donation it's not completely sad, there is something positive that came out of her not being here because two other people have benefitted from her gift.

"I now get to tell people I have a daughter, who isn't here anymore but who saved two lives.

"It has helped not only me and Becky but us as a family, and we are beyond proud of Violet.

"It's a conversation people don't think to have, if someone dies and doesn't tell someone that's what they wanted, then it's up to the next of kin.

"It's important to have the conversation and let people know if you want to do this.

"Despite the horrible thing that happened with us losing Violet, organ donation gave us something positive out of that."

Last year more than 2,700 people in the borough signed the organ donation register, which was 400 more than in 2016.

However, across Merseyside there are still 101 people on the transplant waiting list - despite a donated organ being the last and only hope for many people on the list.

The annual report also demonstrates how the ageing population means the average age of potential donors is increasing - with the average age of donors in the region during 2017 being 52.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to all the families in Merseyside who have chosen to say ‘yes’ to organ donation.

"Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people.

"We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to save lives through organ donation. We want more people to have that opportunity.

"We need more people aged over 50 in Merseyside to support donation.

“People in older age groups can still save and transform lives through organ and tissue donation.

"Many more lives could be saved by telling their families they want to donate.”

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register at organdonation.nhs.uk