HAVING suffered from diabetes for the last 25 years, Barrie Smith knows what it feels like to have the condition.
Using his own experiences, the 76-year-old has been working with Diabetes UK to raise awareness of the complications it can bring and the importance of looking after yourself.
If I save one person then I’ve done a service to somebody.Barrie Smith
Barrie, from Gosport, was honoured for his hard work and dedication to the charity and its Putting Feet First campaign.
Diabetes UK is particularly focusing this campaign in Fareham and Gosport where the rate of diabetes-related amputations are high.
Barrie was recognised by the charity for his contribution at its regional volunteering conference.
He won the Campaigning and Raising Awareness award and was also presented with the charity’s top accolade, the Outstanding Individual Volunteer Award – the Sir Steve Redgrave award.
Barrie said: ‘I was both surprised and pleasantly shocked at winning.’
Barrie became a media volunteer for Diabetes UK in 1988 when he was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
His aim was to raise awareness from his own experiences and to stop people with diabetes making the same mistakes he did.
He said: ‘If I save one person then I’ve done a service to somebody.
‘I have a firm belief to do all I can to assist other people.’
Barrie himself had his leg amputated in 2008 and said it was either die with the leg on or live with the leg off.
Since then he has been raising awareness and making sure more people know more about the risk of amputation when being diabetic.
Barrie has also been involved with the media and talks about how his Christian background allows him to be compassionate and ultimately encourage people to be sensible in their lives.
He added: ‘When I talk about diabetes and living with the illness, I say it in such ways people will take notice.
‘If I save one person I’ve done something right.