Airedale’s first diabetes patients receive medals for 50 years

Posted on January 28, 2020 by AireAdmin No Comments

Two patients at Airedale Hospital have been awarded medals to recognise 50 years of living with Type 1 diabetes.

Fiona Newhouse, from Skipton was the first patient to be presented with a Diabetes UK medal at a special ceremony at Airedale Hospital’s Diabetes Centre in November 2019. Last week, Alan Troake from Ingrow, was also presented with a medal.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which develops when the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin. Patients with Type 1 diabetes need to inject insulin regularly to keep blood glucose levels stable and to stay alive.

Fiona was diagnosed with diabetes aged 11 in 1969. After being initially treated and diagnosed at Bradford Royal Infirmary she was one of the first patients to be seen by diabetes staff at Airedale hospital when it opened in 1970.

Fiona says, “When I was first diagnosed I thought if I can make it 10 years I’ll be pleased; I never dreamed I’d get to 50 years. Diabetes can be tricky to manage – especially back in the 70s when we used to boil and reuse needles – but I’ve always tried to keep on top of it.

“I’d like to think that if other people with diabetes can see that I’ve managed to live with it for 50 years it will give them hope that they can do the same. I hope that I can inspire other people to keep going and looking after themselves.”

Fiona helps other people as well as running a local Slimming World group.

Alan was also one of the first patients to be seen at Airedale Hospital fifty years ago. Alan says, “I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 17 months old so have lived with the condition for nearly my whole life. The treatment and equipment I use to manage my diabetes is so much better than it used to be and makes it easier for me to be in control.

“I have never let my diabetes stop me from doing anything and never will.”

Diabetes consultant Dr Andy Pettit presented the medals. He said, “Both Fiona and Alan do really well controlling their diabetes, so I’d like to say a big well done to them both. I’m really proud to be able to present them with this medal which marks 50 years of living with diabetes.

“In the last 10 to 15 years technology has come a long way in aiding diabetes patients to control blood glucose levels (we have moved well away from reusing needles!), and it’s had a real positive impact on people’s lives. There’s so much more we’re able to do to help now which is brilliant.”

The Alan Nabarro medal is awarded to people who have lived with diabetes for 50 years. Alan Nabarro waged a lifelong battle against discrimination against people with diabetes. In 1968 he was awarded the OBE for his work with young people in London.

More information about diabetes can be found at or

In 2020 Airedale is celebrating 50 years since it opened in 1970.

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