An inspirational Golcar teenager has become a gold medal-winning swimmer – and a world record holder – 10 years after a liver transplant.

Ava Winkley, 15, travelled to Perth in Australia with mum Caroline and 17-year-old brother Freddie to compete in the World Transplant Games and returned with five gold medals, two silvers and a new world record.

And the hope is that her success will make people think about going on the organ donation register.

Caroline, an intensive care sister at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, said: “I’m so incredibly proud of Ava. When I think back to what life was like when she was younger and she was diagnosed with a rare condition that no one really knew about, to how life is now, it’s just amazing. Organ donation is not an easy route and we live with that every day.

“Going to the World Transplant Games in Australia meant we made some amazing memories. We hope that highlighting Ava’s story will get families taking about organ donation and having that conversation.”

Ava won golds in 50m fly, 50m backstroke, 100m freestyle, breast-stroke and adults freestyle relay – including a new world record – and silvers for 50m Freestyle (just beaten by a 17-year-old Australian national swimmer) and in the team medley.

She first competed in the games in 2014 when they were held in Bolton, winning two bronze medals.

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Ava needed a liver transplant in 2013 when she was just five due to a chronic illness called ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency which meant her body built dangerous levels of ammonia that needed constant monitoring. The surgery took nine hours.

Ava, who swims for Borough of Kirklees, said: “I wanted to make my donor family proud at the games and was so excited to represent my country.”

NHS Blood and Transplant specialist nurse Jayne Greenhalgh said: “Ava has achieved so much since having her transplant as a young child which is testament to the long term impact organ donation has, not only on the person having the transplant, but also their family, friends and the wider community.”

For more information on organ donation go to

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.