A MAN thought to be the longest surviving heart transplant patient in Hampshire, and possibly the world, has died aged 74.

Harold ‘Curley’ Kinsley, who had previously lived in Fromond Road, Weeke, before moving to extra care accommodation, passed away surrounded by his family on October 4.

His family said: “A lot of people new him, he was quite a popular personality.”

They also described him as “a bit of a character around Winchester”, who would be remembered for his “smiley face stickers”.

Speaking in 2005, Mr Kinsley said: “I have been very lucky.”

As previously reported, Mr Kinsley had the life-saving operation in March 1983 after suffering agonising chest pains while clearing snow and ice at his Winchester home.

He collapsed at a bus stop and was rushed to hospital for the six-hour operation. His new heart came from a 22-year-old Londoner killed in a car crash.

At the time the life expectancy of heart transplant patients was five years, but Mr Kinsley survived for more than 35-and-a-half years.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest surviving heart transplant patient had been American Ted Nowakowski, who survived for 34 years and 261 days.

Following his operation, Mr Kinsley lived life to the full, running the London Marathon at least twice and the Winchester ten-mile road race to raise money for Papworth and the British Heart Foundation.

He also competed in the Transplant Games, a sporting tournament for transplant patients.

Having survived such a massive operation inevitably changes your outlook, he said.

“It’s got to change your attitude – if it didn’t I don’t think you’d be human.

“When I first got done I didn’t take anything for granted.

“The longer you live with a transplant you get so used to doing things it doesn’t matter any more.”

Mr Kinsley is survived by two sons and four grandchildren.

According to his family, he served in the Royal Green Jackets regiment for 18 years and had an “exemplary service record”.

Mr Kinsley’s funeral is due to be held at 11am on Monday, October 29 at Basingstoke Crematorium.