The Lancashire Evening Post has persuaded more than 3,000 of its readers to become organ donors.
The Have a Heart campaign was launched in March when the newspaper hoped to sign up 1,000 organ donors in the space of six months – in fact the target was doubled in the ?rst four weeks.
The campaign came about because Preston Hospital recruited a transplant nurse. Journalists formed a working party with local NHS staff and launched the campaign with a week-long series of features by health reporter Aasma Day.
They decided to use 16-year-old Leonie Snowden from Preston as the face of the campaign. One month into the appeal her life was saved by a double lung transplant operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The importance of the appeal was underlined when the Post signed up a patient on the waiting list for a lung transplant to write a regular diary column.
He died the day after completing his piece.
The Have a Heart campaign comes just months after the Lancashire Evening Post was named Community Newspaper of the Year at the Newspaper Society Awards.
That award was in recognition for the Melanie’s Magic Wand Appeal, launched in August 2001 to buy hospital equipment to treat brain and spine tumours.
Deputy editor Jane Clare, who co-ordinated the Have a Heart campaign, said: “We believe we can make things happen and in making the newspaper part of the community, rather than standing on the outside and looking in.”
By Dominic Ponsford