A CAR mechanic has powered himself onto the podium once again in the British and European Transplant Games.

Simon Ripley, who had a heart transplant in 2008, won silver in the 20k road race, biathlon, and relay in the European Heart and Lung Transplant Games in Lithuania.

The Darlington man also won bronze in the 4,000m run.

Not content with his European achievements, Mr Ripley also won a brace of medals in the British Transplant Games in Bolton.

He claimed silver in the 10k road race, bronze in the 5k time trial and bronze as part of a three-man volleyball team.

Mr Ripley, 30, has competed in the Transplant Games several times since receiving a heart transplant at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle when he was just 24.

He had suffered heart failure after chemotherapy he underwent as a child had weakened his heart.

Determined not to let his transplant stop him from living a full live, Mr Ripley was inspired to enter the Games after being given a leaflet about them by the hospital’s transplant co-ordinator Lynn Holt.

He said: “She told me then she was doing it to encourage me.

“It’s made great progress since then, the transplant games have been getting bigger and bigger.

“When I first started I was the only cyclist, but in Bolton this year there were eight separate cyclists who had had their transplants done at the Freeman.

“Even in Lithuania a huge amount of people were there who had been at the Freeman Hospital.”

The British Transplant Games are heading to Gateshead next year and Mr Ripley said he had “no doubt” he would be involved.