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Archery: Transplant athlete Pete Nichols appeals for help to reach games

AN ARCHER who underwent a heart transplant in 2010 is targeting gold medal glory this year.

But Pete Nichols, of Buckley, needs help from someone willing to sponsor his travel costs in order to compete in the European and the British Transplant Games.

The 54-year-old former Airbus worker is also in talks to try to get archery accepted into the 2013 World Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa, where he would also like to take part.

“I attended the British Transplant Games in Belfast last year,” he said. “It really was an eye-opener. There were young children, some still with tubes to aid their breathing, running 25 metre races. It just went to prove that a transplant doesn’t have to limit your ability to compete, you can push yourself.

“At the end-of-games dinner I counted 131 tables of 10, that’s more than 1,300 transplant athletes which is inspirational to me.”

Pete took part in the archery, winning gold and also earned a bronze in the ten-pin bowling.

Before he underwent his transplant at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, Pete was one of Wales’ top archers.

A founder member of Corus Deeside Archers, he was North Wales champion for 10 years and a member of the Welsh squad for 12, holding 16 county records, two Welsh records and one British record before forming Welsh Dragon Archery, which offers instruction and demonstrations.

But when he fell ill with cardiomyopathy – a heart muscle disease – he required a transplant to save his life.

The lengthy recovery time, however, saw him suffer muscle wastage and he is still working to return to his pre-op level of competition.

“I have always been fit so when I lost the muscle I had to realise it needed to be built up and retrained over time,” he said. “I am still not up to full strength and am using a lower poundage bow but I do intend to compete in the European Transplant Games in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, in June and the British Transplant Games in Medway in Kent at the end of August.”

Entering the competition will not be cheap – travel and accommodation for last year’s games cost more than £1,000 – and Pete, who volunteers giving archery taster sessions at schools, is appealing for help.

“I have written to a number of local companies but received no response,” he said. “Money is the one factor that may prohibit me from entering the games. I have the equipment, I just need some sponsorship for travel and accommodation.

“Anything left over I would even be happy to donate to Wythenshawe hospital so they can help more people in recovery take up sport.”

If you would like to help Pete get to the European or British games, you can get in touch with him at [email protected].