Selsey couple receives award after 40 years of campaigning for improvements to diabetes services in the area
A Selsey couple which has campaigned tirelessly for 40 years to improve diabetes services in the area has won an award from charity Diabetes UK.
Retired teachers Trevor and Pauline Keeler won the charity’s Local Group and Community Inspire Award in recognition of their hard work over many years for the Chichester Diabetes UK group.
Pauline was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1980 during her pregnancy and, at the time, there was little public information about diabetes, so she and Trevor joined their local diabetes group to find out more.
Pauline, who is the Chichester diabetes group’s secretary, said: “We’ve always believed our charity work has made a positive impact and that’s kept us motivated over the years.
“I had a period of chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma recently which was a difficult time but even during illness I still managed to organise some meetings and produce our monthly newsletter.
“I am currently shielding because of my health condition and age but luckily I am in good overall health and just had my regular diabetes review over the phone.
“We also want to acknowledge all the hard work of Gwyn Cope, our group treasurer, who has provided invaluable support over the years.”
Trevor, chairman of the group and a former lecturer at Chichester College, said: “When Pauline was diagnosed we wanted to make a difference to educate people about diabetes and over 40 years that’s what volunteering has enabled us to do.
“One of the highlights has been fundraising towards the cost for the building of a new diabetes centre at St Richard’s Hospital.
“We were also part of Dr Rob Simpson’s committee which was instrumental in getting the new centre built.
“Without the help over the years of the amazing diabetes team at St Richard’s Hospital’s diabetes centre, we wouldn’t have been able to continue for so long.
“Once lockdown ends, the group hopes to start up the monthly meetings again and carry on with this important local resource for the diabetes community.”
Jill Steaton, regional manager at Diabetes UK South East, said: “For over 40 years Pauline and Trevor have made a wonderful contribution to help raise awareness of diabetes and campaign for better diabetes services in Chichester.
“Their dedication shines through – their selflessness and continuing commitment when they themselves have had their own serious health issues to overcome shows how deserving they are of this award.
“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 Inspire Awards celebrate Diabetes UK’s dedicated volunteers who campaign to improve the quality of care available to people with diabetes, fundraise for pioneering research and raise awareness to stem the rising tide of diabetes.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Pauline and Trevor were honoured in a virtual ceremony which celebrated the achievements of eight Inspire Award winners in the South East.
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly, which can lead to devastating complications – but with the right support people living with diabetes can lead a long, full and healthy life.
To find out more about the Chichester group visit chichester-and-district.diabetesukgroup.org
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