A KELSO woman was among those invited to Holyrood to celebrate the tenth anniversary of a programme that has seen Scots donate kidneys to complete strangers.

Matilda Hall, 77, was the first person in Scotland to donate a healthy kidney to a stranger on the transplant list.

Matilda, who was joined by five other donors, met with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and a group of politicians from across the Scottish Parliament to celebrate ten years of altruistic kidney donation.

The first such donations in Scotland took place in March 2009 and seventy-eight people in Scotland have now donated a kidney to someone they do not know through the programme.

The awareness event at Holyrood took place on World Kidney Day, March 14, 2019, and was organised by Give a Kidney Scotland, a charity aiming to raise awareness of this type of donation and support those going through the process.

Chris Jones, Chairman of Give a Kidney Scotland and himself a kidney donor, said: “Our aim is simple - to raise awareness of this kind of kidney donation and, in turn, to help save lives.

“The 78 people who have so far donated a kidney to a stranger in Scotland over the last ten years have undoubtedly helped to transform the lives of their recipients - people they do not know.”

For Matilda, the decision to give one of her kidneys away was remarkable straightforward.

She told The Border Telegraph: “I heard a radio announcement and realised that I could give something back to society and give somebody their life back.

“Nobody need be on dialysis, it’s only half a life.”

Matilda’s decision to donate a kidney was inspired by the son of a family friend whose own transplanted kidney, donated by his father, began to fail.

Although Matilda was ultimately unable to provide a matching kidney for her friend’s son, the process convinced her that an altruistic donation was something she wanted to pursue.

“The look on his face when it appeared that we may have matched, and then the look on his face when we were told it wouldn’t be possible, convinced me that I was going to make an altruistic donation,” she added.

Despite never having met the beneficiary of her kidney, Matilda has received regular correspondence from the recipient who she says is “going from strength to strength.”

Ten years after her incredible act, Matilda hopes that her story inspires others to help around 400 people who are currently awaiting a life-changing kidney transplant.

“It’s so important, it’s a very easy process and it feels wonderful to know you have transformed somebody’s life.”

Matilda is happy to speak to anyone considering following in her footsteps.

She can be contacted through www.giveakidney.org, where more information about the Give A Kidney campaign is also available.