January update – by Richard Lane
Well, our exciting new brand has gone live now! I am totally in favour of this exercise, because of the clear need to substantially raise the profile of the Charity and of the condition. Recent research has shown that we currently rank far too low down in the table of the 100 top charities, and this simply isn’t good enough at a time when we ought to be very near the top! Diabetes is the fastest growing serious condition in the UK and in the World. It accounts for about 10% of the entire NHS annual expenditure, some 3 times the cost of caring for cancer, and we owe it to all people affected by diabetes to raise the bar!
Our avowed strategic priorities will be more easily achieved if we can only make Government, the NHS and the entire population of the UK much more aware of the awful costs, both financial and social, of this dreadful condition. Barbara Young and her excellent team have spent a considerable amount of time (but not money!) in designing our new brand, and I believe that we owe them our commitment to seeing through its introduction in an orderly and efficient manner.
Much effort has gone into reassuring our vital Voluntary Groups and other essential supporters, that existing stocks of materials of whatever description are not to be wasted, but will be gradually replaced with items following the new brand, and I do hope that this really important move to reestablish our position amongst the leading health charities will find support from all of our loyal supporters.
Now on to other matters! Sadly I had to represent DUK at the Thanksgiving Service for Sir Robert Horton, one of our most influential and generous supporters. Inevitable for a man who had been Chairman of both Network Rail and BP, the Church and the overflow marquee were both packed, and the beautiful service was totally appropriate to such an outstanding man.
I attended the Press Launch for the BUPA Great South Run in Portsmouth and was privileged to meet the legendary runner Wendy Sly and young star athlete Charlotte Purdue, together with Portsmouth FC footballer Linvoy Primus and, representing DUK, Dee Thresher the well known fitness and lifestyle guru. To be standing between HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship, and HMS Dauntless, one of the navy’s most modern warships, was awe inspiring!
I have also been interviewed on BBC Radio Oxford in support of the 90th Anniversary celebrations for the discovery of insulin. On this subject, I visited again Sheila Thorn last week, an inspirational lady who has been treated with insulin for over 80 years, and who was initially under the care of Dr Frederick Banting and then, after returning to the UK from Canada, of Dr RD Lawrence! How amazing she is!
Amongst my plans for the immediate future are visits and talks to the Peninsula College of Medicine and Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, to Northern Ireland to speak to the Mid Ulster and Omagh Voluntary Groups, to the Bexley and Canterbury Voluntary Groups with Fiona King, the former Royal Ballet dancer, and to the Boston, Sleaford and Spalding Voluntary Group. I am really looking forward to all of these commitments and will report back on them next time.
I also want to add my public congratulations to Alex Silverstein for his election as the first President of the Young Leaders in Diabetes at the International Diabetes Federation Conference. This is a remarkable achievement by a remarkable young man! We Presidents must stick together (although I wish that I could add the word “young” to my title)!
Have a great 2012, and please don’t forget: CARE. CONNECT. CAMPAIGN. Together, we will be a far more powerful force in our determination to support ALL people affected by diabetes!