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First person in the UK awarded medal for living with diabetes for 80 years

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Clifford Whittaker, aged 88, from Colchester, is the first person in the UK to be presented with the H.G. Wells medal for living with diabetes for 80 years, from Diabetes UK.Mr Whittaker, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was eight-years-old, said credit for managing his condition so successfully for so long went to his late wife Doreen, who he was married to for 60 years. The couple met while working in a sweet shop in Hertfordshire.

'My diabetes has never stopped me doing anything'

“Doreen passed away six years ago. But she used to look after me very well and make sure I was eating properly and generally looking after myself,” said Mr Whittaker. “My diabetes has never stopped me doing anything and people have always been very kind. I worked in the wages department of a company until I retired in my 60s and I only stopped driving two years ago.”Sharon Roberts, Eastern Regional Manager for Diabetes UK, presented Clifford with medal at his home.She said: “It’s such a privilege to meet Clifford and to hear about his journey with diabetes. He is an inspiration, and has really shown that through managing your diabetes well you can live a long and healthy life.

Care and education

“Diabetes is both a serious and a complex condition, making it vital that people get the care and education they need that can help them to manage their condition well. Poorly managed, diabetes can lead to devastating but avoidable complications such as blindness, amputation and stroke. At present too many people suffer these complications unnecessarily. But with the right care and education courses being offered to people with diabetes throughout their lives this doesn’t need to be the case; instead, they, like Clifford, can have the chance to live a long and healthy life.”The H. G. Wells medal is awarded to people who have lived with diabetes for 80 years. H.G. Wells co-founded the Diabetic Association, now known as Diabetes UK, with Dr Robert Lawrence in 1934. The charity also awards medals to people who have lived with the condition 50, 60 and 70 years.

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