A COUPLE are now "stronger than ever" after a husband donated a kidney to save his spouse's life, and held a recent fundraiser to thank the charity who supported them.

Tony Caley-Burnell, of Dinas Powys, has been with his husband Steve for nearly 30 years, but said he was devastated after finding out Steve was in desperate need of a kidney transplant in 2017.

Mr Caley-Burnell - who is an active member of Barry-based amateur dramatics company Billboard Ensemble - knew that Steve had polycystic kidney disease but was shocked when he found out that the illness had moved to stage 4 and the time had come to start planning the move to dialysis.

Polycystic kidney disease is where kidneys have cysts or growths in them which mean that over time the kidneys will fail. There is no current cure for the disease and it is monitored until there is an eventual need for a transplant or dialysis.

"It was hard, upsetting and frustrating dealing with an illness for which there is no cure," said Mr Caley-Burnell.

"There was nothing I could do. I felt helpless and upset that I could only watch Steve getting poorly and ill."

However, after blood tests, it was found that Mr Caley-Burnell was the same blood type as his husband and he said he "jumped at the chance" to donate one of his kidneys.

"It was a difficult and emotional challenge to face but we were together and supported each other every day," he said.

"I felt so thankful, grateful and relieved to be able to do this for Steve and for us both. It was emotional but I honestly wasn't scared or worried. Staff at the hospital and clinic were brilliant and we had every faith in them."

The transplant was successful and the couple now say that life is back to normal for them. And their group Billboard Ensemble also recently held a fundraising event at their base for Kidney Wales, who the couple say supported them throughout their journey.

The 52-year-old said: "Being in billboard is fantastic, we've made so many friends as the company really is like a family. It helps us both to keep feeling young, by mixing and having friends much younger than us.

"On the night more than £1,500 was raised through cake sales, raffles, prize draws, games and tea. A brilliant evening was had by all."

Speaking about why he donated his kidney to his husband, Mr Caley-Burnell said: "Steve is my life. They say there are two important days in everyone's life, the day you are born, and the day you find out why. I totally understand that now. This has shown me who and why I am."