A Herefordshire transplant recipient was one of a group of UK 'heart mums' who met up for the first time this weekend at an iconic Heart of Steel sculpture.

Jan Lockett, 56, from Leominster, is one of a group of women who have had their lives changed drastically due to heart conditions that have led to them or their children receiving a life changing organ donation.

They came from across the UK to meet at the sculpture in Sheffield’s Meadowhall Shopping Centre. 

As a child Jan was treated with chemotherapy for bone cancer when she was 14, but it damaged her heart . Aged 48, after two heart attacks and three mini strokes, doctors told Jan her organs were failing and she would need a heart transplant to survive.

In November 2011, aged 49, with less than two weeks to live, Jan received a life saving heart transplant.

“Before my transplant my heart was functioning at 7%. After my heart transplant I could hear the heart beats echoing through the mattress, it was incredible, they were so loud.

“I’ve received the greatest gift that anyone can give. I will forever be grateful to my donor family. I’ve been able to watch my son grow up and buy his own house.”

The group have a special bond yet despite years of friendships, formed on support sites parents of children who have undergone serious surgery and heart transplant survivor Facebook groups, Saturday was the first time they all met face to face.

Jan has the date of her heart transplant engraved on the Heart of Steel. She said: “All the ladies that came are connected in some way by our hearts. Whether we are recipients of a heart or our children have a heart condition we’ve all formed some great friendships over the years.

“It’s so powerful to think that without the British Heart Foundation’s life saving research a lot us might not be here. It’s been so special to be here and get to meet all these incredible heart warriors and celebrate our heart journeys at the Heart of Steel.”

The Heart of Steel sculpture was designed by local steelworker-turned-artist Steve Mehdi, and funded with support from local Yorkshire businesses. Each of the attendees to Saturday’s meet-up has had their name, and in some cases the names of their family members or a special date engraved on the heart.

Around 22,000 people have had a name engraved on the Heart of Steel raising £476,000 to help fund the BHF’s life saving research across the UK. The sculpture has space for around 150,000 names in total and all the money raised goes to the BHF. 

For more visit; www.bhf.org.uk/heartofsteel