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Staffordshire grandmother receives medal from Diabetes UK

A Burntwood woman has received a medal for living with diabetes for 50 years. 

Jan Turner, 68, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes just before her 18th birthday, but she has managed to live well with her condition, without complications, despite, she says, facing some difficult times during her life.


Jan (pictured with her medal) has been married to her second husband for 25 years and has one son from her first marriage and two grandchildren. She revealed that she lived with terrible guilt for more than 40 years when her second son was stillborn.

Jan said: “I was devastated when he died, but what made it so much worse was I heard someone say ‘it happened because she’s a diabetic’.

“That comment stayed with me for years and it was only when I heard a doctor talking on the radio that I realised it was not my fault at all. There was less understanding of the condition then.

“When I was first diagnosed I had to use a glass syringe and metal needles. I remember thinking my life was going to be very difficult, but things did get easier and I have been on an insulin pump for around eight years now and that has greatly improved my life.

“I feel far more in control of my diabetes these days. The care I receive from the Queens Hospital in Burton upon Trent have been very encouraging and also my GP surgery and especially my husband.”    

Jan received her award from Diabetes UK in recognition of the courage and perseverance in handling the condition.

The Alan Nabarro medal is awarded to people who have lived with diabetes for 50 years. Alan Nabarro waged a lifelong battle against discrimination against people with diabetes. In 1968 he was awarded the OBE for his work with young people in London.

“I can’t say that having diabetes is easy, it’s not. Every day is different, the blood levels differ daily and it’s a battle some days.

“I would say don’t struggle on your own, go and talk to your GP if you are concerned. Keep yourself busy and eat well.”


Jan has also raised money for Diabetes UK in the past by holding ‘come for a cuppa’ parties at her home. Raffle prizes and selling homemade cakes enabled Jan to donate an amazing £1500 to the charity.  

Peter Shorrick, Midlands Regional Head at Diabetes UK, said: “Jan is an inspiration, and has really shown how taking control of your diabetes can lead to a long and healthy life."


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