PROUD parents Ian and Susan Carruthers chatted with the Duchess of Gloucester after picking up an award in memory of their son.
The Sunderland couple attended St James’ Palace in London on Wednesday for the UK Organ Donation Awards where they collected the medal, dedicated to Paul.
Just weeks before he died, Paul signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
The 32-year-old, of Ryhope, Sunderland, was inspired to join after the tragic deaths of his brother Mark, 21, and sister Amanda, 24.
Like Paul and his other brother, Stephen, 31, Mark and Amanda were both born with Crouzon Syndrome, a condition which causes cranial facial disorder.
On March 25 this year, Paul died after suffering a heart attack.
Parents Ian, 53, and Sue, 56, spoke to a specialist donor nurse and agreed Paul’s organs could be donated to help save others.
Paul’s heart, kidneys, lungs and liver were all donated to people waiting for organs.
Now, as thanks for giving the gift of life, an award has been handed to his parents.
Ian said: “Paul was such a good-spirited person and kept us up when times were hard after the deaths of his brother and sister, so now we have to be strong because we know he would want us to be.
“We also have another son – Stephen – and he is equally proud we are here today.”
Susan said: “Before Paul died, we had seen the adverts on television about organ donation and had talked about it as a family and knew how keen on it he was. He wasn’t registered at the time of his death but we knew it was the right thing.
“About 20 members of our family have now signed up as a result of our story.” Ian himself picked up the Regional Carer of the Year award at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2007 for his devotion to his children.