Hearts and minds

A big day for organ donation today as the Bill to change the system gets its third and final reading in the Lords ahead of becoming law next year. Here’s a piece I wrote for the Guardian today, exploring what that means.

By coincidence, my book The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away was featured on A Good Read on BBC Radio 4 this afternoon. The Rev Kate Bottley was a fantastically eloquent and enthusiastic champion for the book. The comedian Ken Cheng also loved it. You can get the book here or else listen to the five-part documentary series, which was originally also on Radio 4.


‘The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away’ – Told Live in London

Friends, you are invited to come and hear me tell the incredibly moving, inspiring true story of The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away on Thursday February 22 at the Oasis Centre in Waterloo. Tickets are £5 and available here. 

This is an adaptation of the Radio 4 series and HarperCollins book, in which I use words, images and music to take you into the story of a heart transplant, a modern miracle of love, faith and medicine. It’s about two teenage boys and their families, about determination and sacrifice and a rallying cry for the NHS too. Supporting the Donor Family Network charity. Please come if you can.


Boy London Update



The true story of The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away, a modern medical miracle, told live on stage

The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away, told live on stage

It’s my privilege to say that on Friday, February 9 I will be telling the incredibly moving true story of The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away on stage at the Birley Centre in Eastbourne, with some of the money raised on the night going to the Donor Family Network charity. Put on by Harry Farmer with excellent fellow writer Sheila Bugler part of the evening too. Please come if you can. Tickets are limited but they are available now from https://onlineticketseller.com/events/?id=1188&event=theboywhogavehisheartawaybycolemoreton

The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away


Marc is a promising young footballer of 15, growing up in Scotland. A few hundred miles away in England, Martin is a fun-loving 16-year-old. Both are enjoying their summers when they are suddenly struck down by debilitating illnesses. Within days, the boys are close to death.

Although their paths have never crossed, their fortunes are about to be bound in the most extraordinary, intimate way. One of them will die and in doing so, he will save the other’s life.

This is a deeply powerful and dramatic story. It is extremely rare for the family of a donor to have any personal contact with the recipient of their loved one’s organ. Yet remarkably, the mothers of these two boys meet and become friends, enabling the extraordinary, bittersweet moment in which a mother who has lost her son meets the boy he saved. Reaching out and placing her palm flat against his chest, she feels the heart of her son beating away inside another. Her boy, the boy who gave his heart away.



“A powerful story that reduced me to tears.” Ian McMillan on The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away


On one level, it’s a story of organ donation. On another level it’s an examination of language and how it reacts to tragedy. And on a profound level it asks us what life itself is. A powerful story that reduced me to tears.

iani_1Ian McMillan is a writer and broadcaster I admire very much, so it means a huge amount to have heard him praise The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away, the series I made with Jonathan Mayo for Radio 4, on Pick of the Week tonight. This is the rest of what he said.

“Sometimes, when you’re doing something else – in this case, drying the dishes after your dinner – the start of a radio programme can just stop you in your tracks, can make you forget about what you’re doing and just stand or sit there and listen, the pots still damp. This happened to me this week when I heard the first part of The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away on Radio 4.

Listener Ann Hampton was stopped in her tracks by it, like I was. She wrote that the programme, ‘Had me sitting in the car to listen after I had arrived at my destination.’ And that’s one definition of good radio, for me.”

The reaction on social media was also remarkable. Here are some of the Tweets:

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