A KIDNEY donor who went under the surgeon’s scalpel to save stranger’s life is encouraging others to do the same.

Diane Franks, 66, from east Swindon, donated her kidney as a living donor at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital in 2010 to somebody on the national transplant waiting list.

She said: “I’m a normal, everyday person with no major achievement and knowing that I saved someone’s life and given them back to their family to live a normal life was the best thing I ever done.

“A friend of mine in America gave her kidney in 2006 and the idea blew me away, that you can give your kidney to a stranger and save a life. There’s a risk with any surgery but it wasn’t bad. I had pain for a few weeks afterwards, but it was alright.

“In the early days, it took over a year to get a receiver, but it is now a bit quicker. I remember I was in the match with the next person in the database, but I don’t know who he or she was.

“I was the first one at the Churchill hospital to give my kidney to a stranger. In 2010 it was not common and I felt very lonely through the process. I was able to talk to doctors and my family, but they can’t understand the feeling. That is why I created my own website. It’s not for everybody and you have to be ready to give your kidney.”

In 2015, more than 6,500 were on the waiting list for a transplant. Any healthy adult can volunteer to be assessed and a kidney from a living donor is the best treatment option say experts.

Lisa Burnapp, lead nurse for living donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Living donation is highly successful. Hundreds of people have had their lives saved and transformed, thanks to the generosity of these donors.”