An 11-year-old Southampton boy who helped change six lives when he became an organ donor has been honoured at the unveiling of a new memorial.

Harlee Steele's parents Fern and Ryan saw The Duke of Gloucester recognise 10,000 organ donors with a dedicated plaque in London. 

He became an organ donor in 2020 after a serious headache got progressively worse.  An undiagnosed Arteriovenous malformation of the brain (AVM) was attached to his brain stem, causing an inoperable haemorrhage from which Harlee could not recover.

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Organ donation was a topic that Fern and Ryan has already discussed with Harlee and his younger brother Louie as Fern’s best friend, Sonia, was on the waiting list for a heart and lung transplant.

Fern said: “Because of that conversation we had with the boys I knew how Harlee felt about organ donation. It wasn’t a decision I ever thought I would need to make for him but to know that Harlee was happy to help others and agreed with organ donation made saying yes a little bit easier.”

Through his donation Harlee was able to help four children and two adults.

Last year, Harlee’s family accepted the Order of St John award on his behalf at a ceremony in Botley.

Daily Echo: Fern and Ryan Steele with the new memorial

Fern added: “We attended the ceremony with our two other children and it felt very special for Harlee to be recognised. My husband Ryan always wears the pin and talks about Harlee and how proud we are of him.

"As a family we don’t shy away from talking about organ donation. We have also seen the other side of organ donation as my friend Sonia has now received a transplant and is doing really well. In time we plan to visit the memorial with our children and parents. It is wonderful for Harlee’s legacy and all organ donors to be honoured in this way.”

The Order of St John Award for Organ Donation has now been running for a decade. 

The event to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the posthumous awards took place during Organ Donation Week.

The memorial will have a permanent home in the Cloister Garden at the Museum of the Order of St John, in Clerkenwell, which anyone can visit.