Source: Bracknell News
A FIRST-time competitor in a sports contest for people who have had organ transplants has returned home with a clutch of medals.
Ron Richmond, 61, won silver in the all-age darts event at the UK Transplant Games as well as taking gold for the shot putt and bronze for the javelin in the 60 to 69 age category.
Mr Richmond, from Forest Park - who received a kidney in 2009 - said: "It was overwhelming to be there, especially when you saw the young children who have had transplants and the donor families. You had to be there to feel it."
Mr Richmond was part of a team of 20 organ transplant recipients of all ages from Reading's Royal Berkshire Hospital that travelled to Belfast earlier this month for the games. The team returned with hospital's biggest-ever haul of medals - 41, made up of 13 gold, 12 silver and 16 bronze.
The retired coach driver had only six weeks to train after signing up for the event - and had no previous experience of shot put or javelin.
He had played darts at the Cranbourne British Legion and Bracknell Bowls Club but his last match was more than a year ago. He said: "I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm glad I went. I was very surprised how I got on, considering I'm a newbie."
Mr Richmond suffered from polycystic kidneys - a build up of cysts on the organ, preventing it from functioning properly - and depended on dialysis to clean his blood for five years while he waited for a kidney transplant.
He praised the Royal Berks, saying: "They were always there for me. I can't fault them."
Mr Richmond will no longer have to travel to Reading for check-ups now the hospital has opened its renal and cancer treatment facility at Brants Bidge in east Bracknell.
Mr Richmond, who lives in Farningham House sheltered housing, said: "It's fantastic. I can get a bus from right outside where I live and it stops right outside, and the same coming back."