TWENTY-five years ago today, Martin Ashworth was approached by a police officer asking him if he wanted a new kidney.

For officers had launched a desperate race against time to track him down when an organ became available for a vital transplant operation.

Martin, aged 24 at the time, was on the waiting list for a new kidney, and without the aid of mobile phones, the only information police had to go on was that he was thought to be fishing somewhere in the Warrington area.

He was found on the banks of Sankey canal and rushed into hospital. Within hours the operation was carried out, and that procedure proved to be life-transforming in every way.

The care and help he received inspired the 49-year-old to start a career in the emergency services and train to become a paramedic so he could help “make a difference” to other people’s lives.

The Bolton News:

(Martin Ashworth in full PPE)

Following the operation he had another child with his wife Joanne, and is currently working for track and trace, while shielding, as his way of continuing to give back.

Martin, who was diagnosed with a kidney condition at the age of just 16, said: “I was being given training on dialysis whilst on the transplant register. It has changed my life. I am now a paramedic, I had another child after the operation and am a granddad. I understand how hard it is for a family to make the decision about organ donation, but hopefully they can see what a difference a transplant can make.”

Today, all those years later, Martin, who lives in Conniston Drive, Farnworth, still carries his medication in the tin of biscuits he won during the fishing tournament.

The Bolton News:

(Making headlines in The Bolton News)

Martin, who is dad to Stella, aged 30, Liam, aged 27 and Ellanna, aged 17, and granddad to Bella, aged seven, and Robin, aged two, will be treated to a small surprise “lockdown” celebration.

Wife Joanne said: “All the family are so proud of him. The transplant gave him a new lease of life, a second chance of life."