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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Richard Fines - 70 Years on Insulin

On 19 September, Mr Richard Fines from Saxilby, Lincoln will be presented with the McLeod Medal awarded to people on insulin for 70 years. Needless to say this medal is rarely awarded. This medal will be in addition to the Nabarro and Lawrence medals awarded to him for 50 and 60 years respectively.

Richard was 11 years old, in 1946, when he was diagnosed as having Type 1 diabetes. This was before the National Health Service began and Richard’s parents had to buy his insulin and equipment. The basic equipment needed was a large chrome syringe with replaceable needles. These needles could be re-sharpened and so most people bought Swan Vesta matches as they had sandpaper on the sides of the box. Richard has estimated that he has had over 51,000 injections in his lifetime.

In those days there was very little written information about diabetes and its control. The regime for diabetics was very strict. Richard’s parents even fitted a lock to the larder door where they kept any food containing sugar/carbohydrates and so restrict Richard’s access to it.

On leaving school Richard joined Ruston Hornsby, progressing to senior buyer, and stayed there for 44 years until his retirement in 1996.

In 1974 Richard was a founder member of the Lincoln branch of the British Diabetic Association, later to become Diabetes UK. He soon became treasurer and coordinator of the local fundraising events. The current total of money raised and sent to the Research Fund in London is a magnificent £169,750.

Richard has received excellent care over the years from Lincoln County hospital and Saxilby surgery. He has also had the wonderful support of his wife, Elsie, and their son and daughter. Richard has always remained very positive and active throughout his life. In earlier years he played football and now bowls regularly both indoors and outdoors. He and Elsie have always enjoyed their holidays both home and abroad.

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