A PENSIONER from Colchester has become the first person to win a national award for living with diabetes for 80 years.

Clifford Whittaker was eight-years-old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Now 88, he has been presented with the H G Wells medal for living with diabetes for eight decades.

Mr Whittaker gave the credit for managing his condition so successfully for so long to his late wife, Doreen, to whom he was married for 60 years after they met while working in a sweet shop.

He said: "She passed away six years ago but she used to look after me very well and make sure I was eating properly and generally looking after myself.

"We used to enjoy gardening together and I used to belong to the cine club.”

Clifford said he remembered being diagnosed in 1935 and going home with big needles which his dad used to inject him twice a day.

Mr Whittaker said: "We used to have to boil them but it is much easier now with the pen. I still inject myself twice a day.

"I watch what I eat carefully and weigh all my food. There’s nothing I won’t eat but if I see too much potato on my plate then I take it off.

“Having Type 1 diabetes has never stopped me doing anything and people have always been kind. I worked in the wages department of a company until I retired in my 60s and I only stopped driving two years ago.”

The award was presented by Diabetes UK and Eastern regional manager Sharon Roberts said: “It’s such a privilege to meet Clifford and hear about his journey with diabetes.

"He is an inspiration as he demonstrates to all people living with the condition with good management, you can live a long and healthy life.

“We know how vital it is people have the right care and education to help them manage their condition themselves.

"People are living longer with diabetes, which is great news, but there are still far too many people developing serious and often avoidable complications