Many people feel uneasy talking about - and planning for - death, although health workers are increasingly concentrating on providing patient-centred care to help terminally ill people and their families make choices to meet their individual needs and wishes.

Losing a loved-one is always difficult but one thing that can help ease the pain is knowing that, in death, they have helped someone else to live by donating their organs.

During National Transplant Week, Cumbrians are being urged to sign up to the National Organ Donor Register.

And because transplant teams still need consent from a deceased person’s family to remove organs - even if they have signed the register - people are being encourged to ‘spell out’ their organ and tissue donation wishes.

Twenty eight local people have died in the last five years because suitable donors could not be found and there are 61 people currently waiting for organs in Cumbria alone.

In 2010 The Westmorland Gazette launched its Gift of Life campiagn, which encouraged people to register to donate their organs. It was a major success, with 1,571 readers joining the register in just five months, potentially saving the lives of hundreds of people.

It was clear through stories about individuals published at the time the amazing effect receiving a transplant can have on an ill person’s well-being - and how the families of those who donated found comfort in that knowledge.

That is why the Gazette is once again urging local people to sign up to the register and to fully discuss their wishes with their famililes.

Talking about death and donating organs can be difficult - but ultimately the benefits are likely to far outweigh the negatives.

A Twitter Q&A is to be held today (Thursday) from noon to 1pm with a local health trust medic. The Twitter handle is @uhmbt and the Q&A uses the hashtag #GiveLifeQA