A ‘determined and funny’ pensioner has received an award for living with type 1 diabetes for 70 years.

David Rice, who has had the autoimmune condition since he was seve, has been presented with Diabetes UK’s John Macleod gold medal. The award was developed to recognise people’s courage and perseverance of living with diabetes.

David, from Wandsworth in London, is blind and has been since he was in his late 20s. Despite his health problems he continued to work, landing a job as a switchboard operator at Wandsworth Council for 20 years.

David, 77, was presented the award by Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan. David told Sutton &Croydon Guardian: “I’m delighted to have received this award. Reaching 70 years with diabetes has had its ups and downs but it was worth the wait and determination – I’m very stubborn.”

Since his diagnosis in 1949, David has seen a lot of changes in the way type 1 diabetes is treated. When he was first told he had the condition he was told to administer insulin on a daily basis using a glass syringe and needle which he sterilised with boiling water.

Over the years he has tried several different approaches to help manage his diabetes, including urine and blood testing. However, life got much easier when he was introduced to insulin pump therapy in 2009.

Dr Nicola Neary, consultant in acute medicine and diabetes and endocrinology at St George’s Hospital, said: “We so admire his qualities of determination, humility, intellectual prowess and for keeping his sense of humour.

“These have enabled him to take a full part in family life and put in more days work than most fully sighted people without diabetes. I’d like to pay tribute to the diabetologists who’ve been involved in David’s care.”

Earlier this month 81-year-old Derek Harrison also received the John Macleod gold medal having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 11.

Picture: Sutton &Croydon Guardian.

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