Vinnie Jones: My wife’s heart transplant ‘saved my life, not just hers’

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Vinnie Jones has said that his late wife’s heart transplant three decades ago “saved my life, not just hers”.

The footballer-turned-actor’s wife Tanya suffered heart failure after giving birth aged 21.

However, she received the “fantastic gift” of a new heart from the family of a 10-year-old boy who died in a car accident in Germany.

In an interview with BBC Inside Out, Jones said: “Tans had a transplant after her heart collapsed giving birth and we lived with that for ever more. It was a fantastic gift that we were given.

“If you kneel down in front of the pearly gates and say: ‘Give us five more years with her, give us 10 years’ – you take that. We had 32.”

Jones, 55, thanked the family who “gave us a new life”.

Vinnie and Tanya Jones (Myung Jung Kim/PA)

Asked whether the transplant had saved his wife, he replied: “It saved my life, not just hers.”

Mother-of-two Tanya died in July last year, aged 53, after suffering long-term cancer.

The Snatch star is backing a change in the law which will mean the majority of people in England will automatically be considered organ donors from May, unless they choose to opt out.

The NHS organ donor card (NHS Blood and Transplant/PA)

He said: “I think it’s fantastic. My feeling is that more people would want to donate than not donate so the turnaround is the better option. I know it’s going to save lives.”

It is estimated that the opt-out method, known as Max and Keira’s law, will lead to an additional 700 transplants each year by 2023.

Keira Ball, nine, saved four lives, including fellow nine-year-old Max Johnson, after her father allowed doctors to use her organs for transplants following a car crash in 2017.

The full interview will air as part of BBC Inside Out Yorkshire, on BBC One on Monday at 7.30pm.