A FIVE-medal haul from Bury Athletic Club’s James Colbeck helped Great Britain scoop 150 gongs at the World Transplant Games in Mar del Plata, writes Mark Granby.

The 30-year-old, from Prestwich, was part of the 107-strong Transplant team representing his country with distinction in Argentina earlier this month

Colbeck enjoyed the honour of being the athletics team captain and displayed his leadership by winning gold in the long jump, won silver in the 4×100 metres and 4×400 metres relays and secured bronze in the 200 metres and 400 metres.

Speaking on his return to the UK, Colbeck said: “I am very proud to have been selected and represent my country at the 20th World Transplant Games, whilst being athletics team captain.

“I feel that although my achievements were hard fought, they are a measure of what is achievable through transplantation”. James went on to praise his mother, Lynn Colbeck, who donated a kidney to him saying, “If it wasn’t for my mum I wouldn’t be able to lead the life I lead now. I must thank her, my wife Cheryl and all my friends and family for their kind words of support, sponsorship and their consideration of organ donation.”

Thirty-year-old James is passionate about the Games acting as a vehicle to inspire people to see the huge effect that receiving a donated organ can have on the recipient. He urges people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. Lynne Holt, Transplant Sport Team Manager for Team Great Britain and Northern Ireland said: “The British and World Transplant Games would not be possible without the generosity of the organ donors who ensure that these athletes can demonstrate the benefits of lifesaving transplantation”.

It was James’s third appearance at the World Transplant Games, having competed in the Gold Coast, Australia in 2009 and Gothenburg, Sweden in 2011.

In a letter of thanks to the Argentinian organisers James wrote: “We train all year to compete at these games and don’t want to let our donors down by being unsuccessful, but once here and amongst so many people who share their experiences, you realise that we are all winners. We are all survivors. We are all friends.”

Bury AC chairman Mark Granby said: “We are immensely proud of James’s achievements. He trains very hard with coach Etta Kessebah and her squad and given the standard of his performances it is sometimes easy to overlook how ill he once was.

“Consequently it is important that we reflect on the amazing impact that the gift of life has made to James. We are therefore equally proud of the work that James does to raise awareness of the gift of organ donation”.

National Transplant Week ran from September 7-13 and anyone wishing to know more about donation can get more information on www.organdonation.nhs.uk.