Wiltshire Publications

Westbury resident wins national award after managing diabetes for 50 years

A Westbury resident and RUH patient has been awarded the national Nabarro Medal from Diabetes UK in recognition of living with type 1 diabetes for over half a century.

Chris Friend from Wellhead in Westbury was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just 10 years old and has been managing the condition for over 55 years.

RUH consultant Dr Marc Atkin presented the medal to Chris at a special ceremony at the hospital. The medal is named after Alan Nabarro OBE, who dedicated himself to improving life for people with diabetes.

Diabetes has not held Chris back from leading a very full and active life. He is a member of Bradford on Avon Rowing Club and continues to row competitively.

Chris is just the third person to have been awarded the Nabarro medal at the RUH

Almost 500 Nabarro medals were awarded by Diabetes UK in 2014 – more than double the number awarded in 2004. The rise is due in part to increased awareness of the award, but is also down to the great strides that have been made in improving diabetes care over recent years. Put simply, people with diabetes are managing the condition more successfully and living longer as a result.

Dr Alex Ward is a consultant diabetologist at the RUH and a passionate advocate of the awards. She said, “I always feel humbled when I have the privilege to present the Nabarro award to a person who has been managing their diabetes for (almost) longer than I have been alive! It is important to highlight just how possible it is to live a long, full and active life with diabetes.

“Thankfully, treatment and management of diabetes has improved beyond all recognition over the past 50 years. Diabetes nurses make the lives of those living with diabetes immeasurably better.”

In five years’ time, Chris will be eligible to receive the Diabetes UK Robert Lawrence Medal which is awarded to those who have lived with type 1 diabetes for 60 years.