Delighted Declan and his magnificent seven

A Woodhall Spa teenager is still celebrating after returning from the World Transplant Games in Argentina with SEVEN gold medals.

If that wasn’t enough, Declan Bennett also set FIVE tournament records - and won the award for the outstanding junior male competitor.

Headteacher Heather Payne with Declan Bennett

Headteacher Heather Payne with Declan Bennett

It was a remarkable feat by the 16-year-old who received a kidney transplant from his dad, Guy, in 2009.

And Declan, a pupil at Horncastle’s Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School - is hoping his sensational haul of medals will inspire others.

He said: “It was great - a completely different experience competing abroad for the first time.

“I’m used to competing in Great Britain but the Worlds have a whole different vibe about them.

“I never thought I’d win seven gold medals.

“I went into it with perhaps one medal in mind so to come away with seven was unbelievable.

“How I came away with five world records as well I’m not quite sure

“It’s still sinking in really. It’s more than I expected. It was amazing.”

All Declan’s medals came in the swimming pool. He won the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle races, the 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke, as well as the 4x50m medley relay and the 4x50m freestyle relay.

Not surprisingly. Declan has dedicated his success to his dad.

He added: “I owe him everything. I was seven when I fell ill and I was 10 when I got the transplant.

“Dad has been with me all the way - really supportive. He’s a taxi driver to training sessions.”

Declan also wants to send out a positive message to other youngsters who might be in the similar situation.

He added; “The idea of the Games is to promote organ donation and show people who are going through it - or have just had a transplant - that anything is possible.

“You can achieve as much as your imagination allows you to.

“It’s not the end of the road, even though it might feel like it at the time.”

Declan admits his success has encouraged him to train even harder.

He added: “There’s the European Games in Helsinki next year which I should be going to and then the World Championships in Malaga in two years so I’ll be working towards them.

“The actual Olympics is probably too high at the moment but they are pushing to get transplants a classification in the Paralympics so if that goes through it would be brilliant - completely unreal.”

Heather Payne, head teacher at QEGS, said the entire school was “extremely proud” of Declan’s achievements.

Over 600 athletes from 44 countries took part in the Games and Team GB won the most medals - 150 golds and 248 in total.

The Games come as figures show that across the UK, there are 10,00 people in need of a transplant.