A South African woman whose life was saved by people in Rawdon has died a decade later.

Carmen Cordeiro Erasmus was close to death as a teenager and in desperate need of a liver transplant when a church congregation came to her aid.

But despite having a good life for the past decade, she has finally lost the battle to survive.

When she came to England in November 2003, Carmen was desperately ill with auto-immune hepatitis and knew a transplant was her only hope of survival.

With a two-year waiting list for liver transplants in South Africa, doctors told her she had just two months to live, and they advised her to travel to England for surgery.

She was saved by the kindness of the congregation of New Life Community Church in Rawdon who gave their entire church funds – around £37,000 – to allow the £70,000 operation to go ahead on January 9.

In 2012, at the age of 27, Carmen made an emotional return to Rawdon, along with her father Mario Cordeiro, mother Celeste and her five-year-old son Jordan.

During their visit, Carmen’s family stressed their gratitude for the ‘miracle’ which had saved her life.

This week, Rob Fry, who was pastor at the church, said: “As soon as you meet some people there is an instant connection and this was certainly true of this family.”

He said the donation had come about after Mario had contacted the church asking for somewhere for the family to stay while the operation was being carried out.

The family were already doing everything they could to raise funds for surgery, but time was running out – so congregation members decided to donate funds which had been set aside to buy a permanent home for the church.

Rob said: “Marriage and births aside, one of the greatest days that I have ever had on this planet was the day that I had the privilege to visit Mario, Carmen and family and hand over to them a cheque for approximately £37,000. What a feeling it brings to give the gift of life.”

Despite a successful operation more than ten years ago, Carmen’s health deteriorated at the weekend and she was taken back into hospital.

“There was talk of another transplant, but taking her father’s hand she said that she could not go through it all again and that she had fought long enough,” Rob said.