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Inspiring family thanks supporters after scooping Diabetes UK award

PUBLISHED: 15:49 07 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:18 07 November 2018

Justin Warner, Anne-Marie Bell and Leah Warner, following the East of England Fundraising Award at a special event for Diabetes UK supporters in Colchester. Picture: DIABETES UK

Justin Warner, Anne-Marie Bell and Leah Warner, following the East of England Fundraising Award at a special event for Diabetes UK supporters in Colchester. Picture: DIABETES UK


The family of a Stowupland teenager, who died suddenly from complications from undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes, have paid tribute to the many people and supporters who backed their fundraising initiatives after being presented with a prestigious award.

Robbie WarnerRobbie Warner

Justin Warner, whose son Robbie died in 2015 when he was 19, said it was down to the wonderful efforts of those who turned up to help boost their campaign.

For every year since his son’s death, family and friends have organised a Memorial Day, at Bacton United Football Club. It includes two of Robbie’s favourite things: football and music and to date has raised more than £6,500 for Diabetes UK.

They have also collected £8,000 for the diabetic unit at the Ipswich Hospital.

His devastated family have not only raised money for the charity in their son’s memory but are determined to increase awareness of the condition and how important it is for people to recognise the symptoms.

Robbie’s 45-year-old father and his 43-year-old mum Anne-Marie Bell, along with his sister Leah, 20, accepted the East of England Fundraising Award at a special event for Diabetes UK supporters in Colchester.

The family are also very keen that teenagers and young adults, and their friends and families, are aware of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes. The symptoms can include losing weight without trying, going to the toilet a lot, extreme thirst and tiredness.

It is important to seek medical help quickly as Type 1 diabetes needs urgent medical treatment.

Justin, who is a warehouse supervisor, said: “It’s really nice to get the award but the thing is that without everybody helping who turn up and take part we would not be recognised. We can organise what we like but without the support it’s irrelevant.

“We make the day for family and friends and it’s fitting we hold it as it’s giving something back to people who suffer from diabetes and at the same time remembering Robbie.

“We were in shock when our name was read out after seeing all the nominations as they were fantastic and we thought we are never going to win but it was a nice feeling.

“We do this because it’s the right thing to do and we did feel a little bit honoured and if we can save someone’s life or make someone’s life a little bit better then we feel we have done the right thing - if we can stop another family losing a loved one we have done our bit.”

Suzanne Smith, senior volunteer development lead, for the Midlands and East, at Diabetes UK, said: “Through our Inspire Awards we thank our hard-working volunteers like this amazing family for their contributions and celebrate the positive difference their work makes to the lives of people living with diabetes.

“In the face of such a terrible personal tragedy, Justin, Anne-Marie and Leah have raised huge amounts of money to support Diabetes UK’s vital work and are also determined to shine a spotlight on the symptoms so that other families don’t have to go through what they have.

“We are so grateful for their support and we really look forward to working with them in the future.”

The Inspire Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding individuals as well as group volunteer efforts.

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