David Rice, 77, from Wandsworth has been awarded with the John Macleod Diabetes UK medal, in recognition of his courage and perseverance of living with diabetes.

David was diagnosed with diabetes in July 1949 aged 7 – one year after the NHS was established. He received no dietary advice and was prescribed insulin, administered once daily from a glass syringe and needle which he sterilised with boiling water.

David has been under the care of St George’s since 1988. Over the years, he’s used a variety of methods and treatments for managing his diabetes; including urine testing, blood testing, multiple daily insulin injections and since 2009, insulin pump therapy.

The medal was presented by Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, MP for Tooting, at a ceremony in the Thomas Addison unit at St George’s on Wednesday 24 July.

The 77-year-old was joined by his wife Ann and guide dog Jules – David lost his vision in his late 20s as a result of his diabetes.

Despite these challenges, David worked as a switchboard operator at Wandsworth Council for 20 years, where he was a well-respected and well-liked member of the team. Now retired, David enjoys keeping busy by making matchstick models.

David said: “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!”

Dr Nicola Neary, Consultant in Acute Medicine and Diabetes & Endocrinology, delivered a speech before handing over to Dr Allin-Khan to present the award.

Dr Neary said: “David is an inspiring patient, husband, father and grandfather. 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!”

She added: “I’d like to pay tribute to the diabetologists who’ve been involved in David’s care. In particular, Dr Arshia Panahloo, our care group lead. Thank you also to our specialist nurses, dieticians and all other members of the Diabetes multi-disciplinary team here at St George’s.”

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said: “It was such a pleasure to meet David Rice and present him with the diabetes Medal at St George’s Hospital. David has lived with diabetes for over 70 years and has seen the treatment for the disease change over this time.”

“It is inspirational to hear from David on how he has tackled the many hurdles in his life, including developing total blindness decades ago. Despite all of this, David continued to work until he was 75, serving the local community, and still now even makes match stick models as a hobby!”

“David is testament to how excellent healthcare can lead people to live full lives and give back to the community. Thank you David.”