ONE of Bolton’s star transplant athletes visited a local business that is sponsoring the British Transplant Games to encourage people to Sign Up To Save Lives.

James Colbeck, aged 29, has had a glittering career at various levels of transplant sport and is aiming to add to his medal haul when the Westfield Health British Transplant Games comes to Bolton in August.

The sprinter, from Egerton, who, at the age of 25, was donated a kidney by his mother after he suffered a mystery illness, was visiting Premex Services — after it donated £5,000 to become an official partner of the event.

Mr Colbeck spoke to hundreds of staff at the Middlebrook site about the importance of raising awareness, through the games, of signing up to the NHS organ donation register.

He said: “It is fantastic that local businesses are getting involved — the event relies on the support, sponsorship and volunteering that can come from businesses in the area.

"I spoke to the staff about the importance of organ donation and how crucial it is to have a discussion with your family about what you would want to happen, because consent is such a big thing.

“If we can speak to as many Bolton businesses in the lead-up to the games then we can get that message across to thousands of people.”

Before the August event, The Bolton News hopes to encourage 5,000 people to sign up to the organ donation register, as part of our Sign Up To Save Lives campaign.

As well as providing financial sponsorship, bosses at Premex have said that staff members who wish to work as volunteers during the transplant games will be given time off.

The games require 400 volunteers to help with tasks such as handing out information, marshalling visitors and directing athletes.

Mike Cutler, managing director of Premex Services, said: “If the British Transplant Games encourages just one more person in Bolton to become a donor, another life could be saved.

“Aside from the economic benefits to the region, the human legacy of these games will be felt by families and loved ones for years to come.

“It is an event and a campaign that we are proud to support and one which has already inspired many of our employees to get involved.

"Hopefully other businesses will be encouraged to join the campaign too.”