People who give up their time to raise money for Diabetes UK and also improve understanding and awareness of the seriousness of the condition across the East of England have been recognised.
The charity’s East of England Inspire Awards celebrated a host of extraordinary volunteers who were presented with awards to thank them for their commitment by Diabetes UK chief executive Chris Askew (pictured above with award winner Alhaj Yasmin and Diabetes UK Senior Volunteer Development lead Midlands and East, Suzanne Smith).
The annual awards were held this year at Blackbourne Community Centre in Elmswell, Suffolk, on Saturday 6 May.
There were six winners chosen by an independent panel from a host of nominations:
- Alhaj Yasmin (Reaching Out and Connecting Award). Yasmin, 31, who lives in Bedford, was described as someone very keen to help out at events and supported four Know Your Risk roadshows in Bedfordshire. She speaks four Asian languages which ensures she can speak to people from a number of communities and she has also spoken to groups about diabetes.
- Richard Smith (Fundraising Award). Richard, from Bury St Edmunds, embarked on an extraordinary year of fundraising for the charity. Richard completed a tough physical challenge every month during 2016 including marathons, ultramarathons and tough mudders. His inspiration was his friend Robbie Warner who died from undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. Richard has raised more than £1500 to date.
- Michael Loveridge (Supporting Diabetes UK Award) Michael runs a host of support groups across North East Essex and supports and advises other group leaders. He steps in with guidance, knowledge and experience to ensure these groups offer excellent peer to peer support.
- Tyler Marley (Outstanding Young People’s Award) Aged just 8 years old Tyler, from Canvey, decided to organise and complete a sponsored walk for Diabetes UK after his dad was diagnosed with Type 1. He set himself a target of raising £100, but ended up raising more than £1,000.
- Peter Wilson and John Battersby (Supporting Others Award) Peter and John are members of patient groups in Hertfordshire. They were keen to ensure people living with Type 2 diabetes and their families had access to better education and were aware of Diabetes UK support in the area. They organised an event to explain the support available and the day also included speakers, workshops and sessions on nutrition, exercise and medication. GP practices are looking to track patients who attended to monitor the impact on their health.
- Melissa Flanagan (Campaigning and Influencing Award) Melissa, from Ongar was recognised for her influential work in increasing participation in the National Diabetes Audit and improving care for women with diabetes before and during pregnancy.
It was an absolute honour to attend this year’s East of England Inspire Awards and join the celebrations for the amazing work our volunteers do year in, year out.
All the winners will be invited to the national ceremony. They will be joining fellow winners from across the UK and will have a chance to receive a national volunteering award from the charity.
Chris Askew, who presented the winners with their awards, added: “Through our Inspire Awards we thank our hard working volunteers for their contributions and highlight the positive difference their work has made to the lives of people who are living with diabetes.
“There are around 320,000 people diagnosed with diabetes in the East of England, and our dedicated volunteers help them to manage their condition, campaign to improve the quality of care available to them, fundraise for pioneering research and work to stem the rising tide of diabetes.
"Our volunteers are out there working hard in the community day in and day out. Our much-needed work wouldn’t be possible without their incredible support and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of our volunteers who make an enormous difference through their support.”
The event also saw researchers sharing details of their work and thanking the supporters for their amazing support. A raffle was held, with some prizes donated by Tesco, to raise money for the charity.