Transplant patients from across the Midlands have tasted success in the British Transplant Games.

Among them was Richard Smith (right), a chartered surveyor of Bridgnorth, in Shropshire, who won gold in the 10km cycling at the four-day event in Bath, Somerset.

The 39-year-old, who is also the current World Transplant Games cycling champion, has been a regular member of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's team since 1997, following his liver transplant at the Birmingham centre in February 1993. The divorced father-of-two, who also took part in the 5km road race and volleyball - in which the QE team took the bronze medal - is now hoping he will be able to defend his title at the next World Transplant Games, in Thailand next year.

Mr Smith, who was diagnosed with acute liver failure less than two months before his operation, said: "We've finished about halfway down the medals table, but it's been a fantastic games.

"I took gold in the 10km cycling, and the team got a bronze for our performance in the volleyball, but I think I was lucky to finish the 5km race - I came in fourth but I'm paying for it now.

"These games are the qualifying events for the World Transplant Games, and I hope that as a gold medal winner I'll be in with a chance of being selected for the British team.

"I was a fairly good cyclist beforehand, but if I hadn't had my transplant I'd never have had the opportunity to represent my country, race abroad and meet so many amazing people. But more importantly if I hadn't had the operation, I'd be dead."

The first British and World Transplant Games were held in Portsmouth in 1978, and have been held annually since, to celebrate the sporting endeavours of people who have undergone organ transplants.

Mr Smith's achievements have inspired his ten-year-old son Charlie, and daughter Grace, aged seven, who are already accomplished cyclists.

"Being involved with the Games is something I'd never really thought about when I had my transplant 13 years ago, but it's not only aided my recovery but inspired my children to become more active as well," he said.

* In the UK between 1 April 2005 and 31 March 2006, organs from 765 people who died were used to save or dramatically improve many people's lives through 2,196 transplants. The total includes 126 non-heartbeating donors, 43 per cent more than the previous year

* A total of 1,799 patients received a kidney transplant of which 594 (33 per cent) were given their kidney by a friend or relative - this increase of 25 per cent sets another record for the number of living kidney transplants in the UK

* 126 people received a pancreas or combined kidney/pancreas transplant, the highest number on record and an increase of 47 per cent over the previous year

* 586 patients received a liver transplant, eight per cent fewer than in the previous year

* 262 cardiothoracic transplants were carried out, a decrease of nine per cent compared with the previous year, the decrease in heart and heart/lung transplants being marked

* At the end of March 2006, 6,700 patients were listed as actively waiting for a transplant, a nine per cent rise on the previous year

* A further 2,503 people had their sight restored through a cornea transplant, the highest number for nine years

* Almost a million more people pledged to help others after their death by registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register