Award for inspirational volunteers

Chris and Claire Baldry who have won the Fundraising Diabetes UK Award in recognition of their hard work. SUS-170706-085753001
Chris and Claire Baldry who have won the Fundraising Diabetes UK Award in recognition of their hard work. SUS-170706-085753001

A Bexhill couple who raised over £5,000 for Diabetes UK have won a fundraising volunteering award at the charity’s Inspire Awards.

Local poet and author, Claire Baldry and husband Chris won the Fundraising Diabetes UK Award in recognition of their hard work.

Claire and Chris, who has Type 1 diabetes, started the Bexhill Fundraising Group in 2015. Claire organised a number of fundraising events locally and raised awareness through an active Facebook page. She also wrote an autobiographical book on how she and Chris met and what life is like living with someone with diabetes.

Her fundraising ideas included an event with TV antiques celebrity Simon Schneider from David Dickinson’s ‘Real Deal’. Claire gives talks on behalf of Diabetes UK to educational groups and rotaries along with light-hearted poetry readings.

Diabetes UK funds critical research, improves healthcare and treatment, and prevents yet more people developing the potentially life-threatening condition. Claire, 62, says both herself and Chris are dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the charity. “There’s a lot planned for 2017 including running stalls at the local Gala and Classic Car Show and a fundraising quiz at the Town Square Social Club,” she said. “We are passionate about wanting to make a difference and fundraising is an important part of that. We raised £2000 in 2015 and over £3000 last year. This year we want to smash that target and raise even more.”

Since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes over 30 years ago, Chris has experienced chronic eye complications.

Chris, 66, says volunteering for Diabetes UK gives him the opportunity to raise awareness and share valuable information. “Four insulin injections a day for three decades and more recently, learning to manage an insulin pump has been an everyday struggle,” he said. “I really want people to be aware that the associated complications from diabetes can be severe – no matter how bad you feel, you must take good care of it. Tackle it head on and take it seriously.”

The Inspire Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding individuals and group volunteer efforts. Winners are chosen by judging panels across the UK and presented with their award at the regional and national Make a Difference conferences. The winners of these awards are then placed in a pool to be judged for the UK-wide Inspire Awards which will be presented in summer 2017.

Jill Steaton, Regional Manager at Diabetes UK South East, said: “Claire and Chris are wonderful. They are always there to help us with whatever needs doing. Dedicated volunteers, we are lucky to have their expertise. Their work locally really has a positive impact in raising awareness.

For more information on Diabetes UK visit: www.diabetes.org.uk.