Family of killed Chorley man Mark Downham pay tribute as his donated organs save lives

Mark Downham
Mark Downham
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The family of a Chorley man killed on the M1 by a drunk driver has paid tribute to him for his decision to save lives by donating his organs.

Mark Downham, from Chorley, died after Adrian Radu, 28, of Alfreton Road, Nottingham, performed a u-turn on the M1 motorway causing a van behind the car to collide with Radu’s vehicle.

Adrian Radu

Adrian Radu

Mark was a backseat passenger in the van and died from his injuries two days after the collision which happened at 5.40am on Saturday, March 24.

His family have now paid tribute to him, and spoken of their pride after he decided to donate his organs to help others.

In a victim personal statement Mr Downham’s mother, Lesley, said: “Through his generosity Mark has saved many lives. The first one we were told about was a man who received his liver within two hours of Mark’s life support being switched off.

“We have been told that there are three babies and six children with heart problems who have received tissue from Mark to repair their own hearts.

“Two men received a kidney each – one had waited for four-and-a-half years and the other had waited only a month.

“We had agreed to any type of tissue donation possible and the knowledge that parts of our son were still living and helping others was of great comfort to us.”

Mark’s sister, Natalie, said: “Mark was a really social person and was very popular. I had a great relationship with him and I can’t help feeling that I have been robbed of my time with him.”

Radu – who failed a roadside breath test when stopped by police – was jailed for 11 years, banned from driving for 13 years and told he will have to take an extended re-test if he is ever to drive again.

He was also already disqualified from driving prior to the crash and had no insurance.

Speaking after Radu’s sentencing Detective Sergeant Clare Gibson, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This collision could have been avoided had Adrian Radu shown any respect for the law by adhering to his driving disqualification, and even then making the responsible decision not to drive after drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.”

Mark’s mother also revealed how he is to posthumously receive the humanitarian award of The Cross of St John due to his generosity.

“We’re very proud that our son will be able to help so many more people and that some good could come from this tragic loss,” Lesley said.