How tragic Leeds 18-year-old hit and killed by speeding driver may have saved nine lives after death

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The family of a 'beautiful' 18-year-old Leeds student hit and killed by a speeding driver described how nine of her organs have been donated to save others.

THE family of a “beautiful” 18-year-old student who died after she was struck by a car near her home in north Leeds said after her death in June last year that nine of her organs are set to give life to others.

Kate Whalley was hit by a black Ford Fiesta ST on the A660 Leeds Road, near to the junction with Old Pool Bank, at about 4.40pm on June 22.

She suffered unsurvivable head injuries but was kept alive at Leeds General Infirmary long enough to allow doctors time to organise recipients for her organs.

Her father Michael, 54, said Kate had just caught a bus home – after sitting her penultimate A level exam at Harrogate Grammar School – when she was struck by the car.

Kate had been due to sit her final A level the following day.

Kate’s family said she was confident she would have achieved the two A grades and one B she needed after being offered a place to study psychology at Newcastle University in September.

Mr Whalley, 54, said police took him and Kate’s stepmother Janie to Leeds General Infirmary to be with Kate. He said: “After a while the medics came and told us of the horrendous injuries to her head and it was so bad that she could no longer survive.

“Kate had a donor card so we granted the doctors her wishes.

"But they had to keep her alive so her organs would be of use and it was going to be quite a while for them to get the donors to be matched.”

Mr Whalley said his daughter’s life support was switched off just after 1am and she died two hours later. He said she donated nine organs, including her heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

Mr Whalley, who works as a self-employed chartered surveyor, said at the time: “I have just been informed that her two kidneys have been given and that the recipients are doing well. He added: “I think it’s wonderful.
"It just shows the spirit and zest for life that Kate had that she wanted to give life to others.

“It expresses the selfless character she was and what a beautiful young woman she was.

“She had the most beautiful smile. She was an intelligent, confident, beautiful young woman in every way.

“As a father I couldn’t have wished for a more beautiful girl who was so very close. She used to say ‘me and dad can take on the world.’

“She was strong-minded, hard-working and fun-loving. She had a boyfriend called Tom and every time they were together they just laughed.

“She was full of life with all her future ahead of her and she was just snatched away.”

Miss Whalley’s step mother Janie Whalley said: “Kate really was a lovely, amazing girl. The first thing she did every morning was give you a hug.”

Mr Whalley said he called his daughter at around 3.25pm on Thursday when she was coming out of school after finishing her exam at 3.15pm.

He said: “I said to her ‘get a taxi because you have got that maths exam tomorrow.’ By getting a taxi back she would haven an hour more for study.

“She said ‘no, it’s alright’ and I have got a return bus ticket.’ She was literally within sight of our front door.”

Mr Whalley said his daughter was in her final year of her A levels at Harrogate Grammar School. He said: “She had just had her last psychology exam on the Thursday. On the Friday she had her final maths exam.

"She would have been finished and then, hopefully, she would have gone to Newcastle University.”

Mr Whalley said he was worried when his daughter had not returned home by 5.30pm. He said: “I was concerned so I rang her mobile and there was no answer. There was a knock at the door and I knew something was wrong and it didn’t surprise me that it was a policeman.

“He told me she had been severely injured and taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary.”

Kate also leaves mother Diane Jordan and step father Gary Jordan, half-brothers Paul and Daniel Faithfull, half-sisters Holly and Jessica McGrellis and Kate’s boyfriend Tom Underwood.

More Than 20 floral tributes were left at the scene of the collision that claimed Kate’s life. One friend wrote on a note attached to a bouquet of flowers: “Beautiful flowers for a beautiful girl. Will miss you forever. Love you always.”

Reckless and dangerous driver jailed

A judge described Kieran McGowan as "reckless and arrogant" over his actions which led to the death of Kate Whalley.

Locking McGowan up for four and a half years, judge Christopher Batty said no length of sentence could ever compensate for the teenager's death.

-> Lunatic speeding driver locked up at Leeds court over death of 18-year-old student
McGowan was also banned from driving for six years, eleven weeks.

The judge said: "To drive your car after consuming so much alcohol is wholly irresponsible. Wardrobe Hacks for New Mums with eBay Get the hero pieces perfect for your changing post-baby shape, without breaking the bank. Sponsored by eBay "But to then drive it in such a dangerous and reckless way is unforgivable.

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