A SALISBURY man who was one of the longest surviving heart transplant patients has died aged 74.
John Weeks had surgery to get a new heart on New Year’s Eve 1987 and featured in the Journal at the time.
He was again in the Journal in January 2008, when his donated heart was still going strong after 20 years, despite being told at the time to expect to live only five years.
He died on May 29 this year, from several illnesses related to the transplant.
His wife Ellen said: “It was marvellous to have gone nearly 23 years – people’s life span after a transplant is normally 10 years.”
Mr Weeks was born and grew up in Salisbury and worked as a loading manager at an abattoir in Churchfields for ten years. He was forced to stop working in 1987 and was on a waiting list at Southampton General Hospital for five months before a donor heart was found in Germany and flown over.
Mrs Weeks said for the first 12 years after the transplant her husband coped well and they could go on holidays and he could drive. After that he gradually started finding it more difficult to do things and the last few years had been very difficult, but he still enjoyed spending time with his family.
She said: “John was a jolly, natural and happy-go-lucky man. He got on well with everybody and was a real family man, he absolutely adored seeing his great-grandchildren.”
The couple had three children, but unfortunately their son Andrew died 18 years ago. Mr Weeks is survived by his two daughters Marilyn and Dianne, his two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
His funeral will be at Salisbury Crematorium next Monday, June 14th at 2.15pm.
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