A BIG change to England’s organ donor law has been welcomed by the family of Jemima Layzell.

The Taunton School pupil, who lived in Ilton, was 13 when she collapsed on March 10, 2012 and died four days later at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

The Jemima Layzell Trust was then officially formed in 2014, and has since raised thousands of pounds.

The new law, officially called the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act, came into force on May 20 - the day before what would have been Jemima’s 22nd birthday.

Sophy Layzell, Jemima’s mum and trust founder, said: “The Opt-Out Law has been, and still is, a wonderful reason to talk about organ donation.

“For The Jemima Layzell Trust, that’s the main objective, to get that conversation started.

“It’s a tricky subject to bring up out of the blue but with the change in law it provides a great reason to bring it up with your friends and family.

“The law is a ‘soft’ opt-out so your next of kin will still be consulted should you be in a position to donate, so it’s vital that they know your wishes.”

Under the new law, all adults in England are considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate (known as ‘opting out’) or are in one of the excluded groups.

Five years after her death, it was discovered that Jemima’s organs had been transplanted into eight different people - the highest number on record.

Sophy added: “I personally welcome the law and hope in time it leads to a significant rise in transplant rates like those in Spain, who moved to opt-out in 1979.

“This will take time, decades even as it did over there, and will only work if we focus on positive stories like Jemima’s.

Anthony Clarkson is the director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation.

He said: “It is important that people know they will still have a choice whether or not to donate.

“Families will still be consulted, and people’s faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected.”

Sophy added: “In Spain, donors are regarded as heroes and the importance of their lifesaving gift is emphasised and celebrated.

“Research shows that for recipients it is very important to feel that their organ was a gift and the desire to honour their donor is a lifelong commitment and an important part of their recovery.”

For more information on the trust, just visit www.jemimalayzell.com