Wigan toddler pays tribute to brave dad a year after he died following heart transplant

A year has passed since a heroic Wigan dad lost his long and painful fight for life just 11 weeks after getting a new heart.


To commemorate the life of Dave Hughes, his wife and son Louise and George, have released a balloon telling his story to whomever may find it.

Dave, George and Louise Hughes

Dave, George and Louise Hughes

Dave from Whelley, was only 32 when he died at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle on May 8 last year, after suffering numerous complications from a heart transplant

The dad-of-one suffered from a congenital heart defect called “transposition of the great arteries”, meaning the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed.

In 2013, Dave was told that he would not live past five years without a new heart and was put on the transplant list.

Five years later, in February 2018, Dave finally received the call to say that an organ was available.

He came around after the gruelling 12-hour operation, but due to numerous infections and other complications he was unable to recover.

Just weeks later, Dave said goodbye to his then 19-month-old son George, family members and close friends from his bedside before the machinery keeping his heart beating was switched off.

George, who is now two and a half years old, has always been at the centre of the family’s campaign to raise awareness of organ donation.

In a tribute to his late dad, the tot released a balloon with the following message: “My name is George Hughes. I am two years old and live in Wigan.

“My daddy passed away a year ago today after receiving a heart transplant 11 weeks before.

“If you find my balloon please consider becoming an organ donor to save someone’s life.”

Dave was a strong campaigner for organ donation. As his health deteriorated, his wife Louise - who he married in hospital after his transplant - became the voice of the campaign.

Since his death she has worked tirelessly to raise thousands of pounds for the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association as well as speaking about the importance of organ donation.

In a heartfelt statement on her husband’s first anniversary, she said: “A year ago today I lost my husband and George lost his daddy.

“I am so lucky for the years we had together and George will always know who his daddy is.

“I will be thinking of the donor family who gave us a second chance of life today. Me and George will always make you proud Dave.”

To sign the register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk