A kidney transplant recipient is still living healthily 50 years on.

Michael Phillips was aged 21 when he underwent the transplant op back in 1971 and his donor kidney was only expected to last 10 to 15 years but he is still going strong.

Retired construction worker Michael, 71, is one of the longest surviving kidney transplantees.

He said: “All I knew about the donor was that it was a young guy who had died, I think from a brain haemorrhage.

“The older I get, the more I think about how fantastic that family were to give me a second chance.

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"I still think about the donor, and it would be nice to let them know how things turned out, the difference it made to my life.

“I owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to that family and to the surgeons, doctors, nurses and specialists I have met.”

Grandfather Michael, of Whitstable, Kent, fell ill in February 1971 when his kidneys suddenly stopped working.

He had to undergo gruelling nine-hour dialysis sessions each week until the transplant surgery in July of that year.

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Kidneys from deceased donors usually need replacing with another transplant after 10-15 years
Kidneys from deceased donors usually need replacing with another transplant after 10-15 years

Michael went back to work two months later, before marrying and having three children.

He still leads a fit and healthy life and enjoys regular games of badminton and table tennis.

Staff at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital organised a cake to mark his kidney’s 50th anniversary.

Transplant nurse manager Lucy Greenfield said: “It is unusual to have a patient who received a kidney from a deceased donor to have survived for 50 years without another transplant.

"We would expect a kidney to last for 10 to 15 years after transplant.”

Angela Dunn, 75, is believed to be the oldest surviving kidney transplant patient. She got her new kidney in 1970 and the organ is still healthy.