Pensioner to receive top prize for type 1 diabetes campaigning

Jack Woodfield
Wed, 04 Jan 2017
Pensioner to receive top prize for type 1 diabetes campaigning
A pensioner who has dedicated his life to type 1 diabetes campaigning is to receive one of the country's highest honours for his services to healthcare.

Fred Holland, from Kidderminster, is to be presented with a British Citizen Award (BCA) at Westminster Palace later this month.

The accolade was set up in 2015 in a bid to reward people who help make a difference and improve society.

The 80-year-old began his diabetes work when his daughter Vivienne was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1971.

Speaking to the Kidderminster Shuttle newspaper, Mr Holland said: "I realised when my daughter was diagnosed that there was absolutely nothing for diabetes patients in the area and I wanted to change it.

"In the beginning, there was two nurses working out of what was like a broom cupboard. We now have what I believe is some of the best diabetes care and facilities in the world."

Her diagnosis prompted him to set up the Wyre Forest branch of the British Diabetic Association (Diabetes UK) in the same year.

As chairman of the organisation, Mr Holland has helped increase awareness of the condition as well as raise much-needed funds for research, which totals nearly £2 million.

He added: "I feel a bit funny about the award. I really am excited - it's amazing. I feel it is my dedication in life to help others and to help save lives by improving diabetes awareness and care. After all these years, this happens, it is just amazing. I thought it was a hoax."

Over the years his hard work has been recognised by other organisations, including Kidderminster Hospital, where in 2012 a diabetes unit was named after him.

Two years later he became the first British person to receive an award from the International Diabetes Federation. He also received a letter from former prime minister David Cameron who congratulated him.

Mr Holland was nominated for the BCA by the Kidderminster Hospital chaplain, Reverend Guy Hewlett, who called him an "absolute marvel".

Picture: The Shuttle
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