TWO men who between them have lived with diabetes for more than a century between them have won recognition.

Stuart Thornton and Eric Jaquin received Diabetes UK medals in a ceremony at Airedale Hospital’s Diabetes Centre.

Both men have Type 1 diabetes, which develops when the pancreas does not produce insulin.

Patients need to inject insulin regularly to keep blood glucose levels stable.

Mr Thornton, of Cowling, was diagnosed with the condition 60 years ago, when he was aged four.

“I had to spend 13 weeks in Keighley’s Victoria Hospital while I was stabilised,” he said.

“Diabetes treatment has changed dramatically over the last 60 years.

“We used to have glass syringes and I had one of the first insulin pumps, which was the size of a backpack – nowadays my pump clips on to my belt.

“I am proud to receive this medal and want to thank the diabetes team at Airedale Hospital for all its support.”

Mr Thornton, who was awarded the Robert Lawrence Medal, was formerly curator and guide at Skipton Castle.

Now, with guide dog Chester, he is a speaker for the Guide Dogs charity.

Mr Jaquin, who serves on Craven Council, received the Alan Nabarro Medal for living with diabetes for 50 years.

He was diagnosed when in his 20s.

The news came the same week England won the football World Cup – and he missed the match because he was in hospital.

“I went on to have a long career as a civil engineer, marry and have children – which is something I thought I wouldn’t be able to do with diabetes,” said Mr Jaquin.

“I am very grateful for the care I’ve had from Airedale’s diabetes team and would say to anyone with the condition that, if you listen to the advice of healthcare professionals, you too can have a long and happy life.”

Diabetes consultant Dr Andrew Pettit and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust chairman, Michael Luger presented the medals to Mr Thornton and Mr Jaquin.

Dr Pettit said: “Diabetes can cause other health complications for patients, but seeing Stuart and Eric living long and active lives shows that while it is a long-term condition – it needn’t be a life sentence.

“Alan Nabarro and Dr Robert Lawrence were two remarkable men who lived with Type 1 diabetes in the days when treatment was very primitive – in fact, Dr Lawrence was the first person to use insulin as a treatment in 1923.

“Diabetes care has come a very long way over the last 90-plus years and Stuart and Eric are living proof of this.”

Mr Luger said: “I am proud to have met Stuart and Eric and credit should go to them for taking control of their condition.

“While our teams are here for support, education and treatment, at the end of the day it is the individual’s attitude and commitment to self-care which makes all the difference.”

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