An update from me – by Richard Lane
Wow! I have had a ball since the last blog in the last few days of October! This exciting period started with a visit to speak at a joint NHS and Diabetes UK Scarborough Voluntary Support Group Diabetes Awareness Day which was really well attended. I love Scarborough! Then, I flew to Cologne and Leverkusen to present to the Bayer Symposium for European Diabetes Specialist Nurses, which was a truly terrific event, attended by several hundred nurses.
I then attended the Diabetes UK London Region Volunteers’ Conference. These conferences are very special to me, in particular the opportunity to say “thank you” to our wonderful and growing body of volunteers, and this conference was certainly no exception. Have you see me “Zumba”? Well, I did, and I believe there is (secret?) photographic evidence of this!
I then went to Buxton, to the High Peak Diabetic Self-Help Group, to present a Nabarro Medal, which was followed by a really good interview by Henry Bonsu (ex-Radio 4) on Colourful Radio in Lambeth. This was a marvellous experience!
My next commitment was to attend and speak at the North West Region’s Volunteers’ Conference, which again was absolutely marvellous! Apart from having the chance to meet some old friends, I also met some new volunteers, and was staggered at the enthusiasm and commitment shown by all. The following day, I spoke to all the walkers who had gathered in Chelsea Town Hall before they set off to raise money for Diabetes UK on the London Region’s London Bridges’ Walk, that is walking over 12 of them! The walkers ranged from young children with their families to 80 year olds, and the atmosphere was electric! I believe that we have received over £15,000 to date, but there is still a great deal to come in! What an incredible result!
Then, in the week around International Diabetes Day, I spoke to staff at the Old Mutual Insurance Company (where our excellent Trustee, Gavin Cookson is a Director) and at the Financial Services Authority. In the same week, I took part in the Press Launch of the BUPA Great Manchester Run, the first such event since Diabetes UK won the bid to be the nominated charity for all the BUPA runs for the next three years! This was great fun, for I met the inspirational young lady, Kirsty, the young lady who was born with her heart the wrong way round and who opened the Manchester Commonwealth Games with David Beckham, “Carl” from Emmerdale and Vera Duckworth (Liz Dawn) of Coronation Street fame! She and I had a really nice conversation and she has offered to help us, despite her failing health. What a lady!
I then attended an induction session for new members of the Council of People Living with Diabetes (CPD), and then the CPD Meeting itself, which was one of the best I have been to. We wish the new Chairman, Lord Roy Kennedy well. I spoke at the reception in the House of Lords he held immediately after taking his seat for the first time, and he has been a great supporter of ours ever since that day.
My visit to the Northern Ireland North West Voluntary Support Group in Derry was an excellent event, and it was so nice to see such an enthusiastic group of people, in such a lovely part of the country!
THEN, we celebrated my son Simon’s wedding, which was a wonderful day, one we (and he and his new wife Emma!) will never forget!
After the euphoric weekend of the wedding, I went to Brussels to take part in the AstraZeneca/BMS European Patient Advocacy Forum, where we debated “Co-existing conditions of Type 2 diabetes” which was extraordinarily interesting and meaningful. We will be publishing a paper following this, shortly.
Sadly, my next commitment was to deliver the Eulogy at the funeral of Sue Braeger, the inspirational Chair of the DUK Havering Family Group. There were well over 100 people at the funeral, a real tribute to an amazing lady who will be sorely missed. It was a privilege for me to be asked to do this, and I just hope that I did her justice.
Finally I attended the DUK Gateshead Voluntary Support Group Annual Christmas Dinner, which was held in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead. I spoke there, but put my foot in it, because I referred (by mistake!) to being in Newcastle, not Gateshead, and this is a very sensitive issue there! Anyway, I was quickly forgiven, and I had a marvellous time.
It just remains now for me to send you my very best wishes to you all for a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year!
Richard Lane OBE – President, Diabetes UK