Former England Captain Sir Ian Botham, HIT DIABETES FOR SIX yesterday, Thursday 4th September, as he launched the construction of the Stephanie Marks Diabetes Resource Centre at the entrance to St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey.

Legendary cricketer Botham, Patron of the Stephanie Marks Appeal, has ‘gone into bat’ for diabetes since the campaign was launched. The Botham family has had first hand experience of diabetes as Ian’s daughter Becky has lived with the condition since the age of 9. Speaking at the event Sir Ian said: “The new Centre will become vital as the number of people with the condition escalates at an alarming rate.”

Planning permission has been granted for the two-storey, state-of-the-art Resource Centre with construction work scheduled to commence later in the autumn. It will serve around 400,000 residents who live in the Boroughs of Elmbridge, Hounslow, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Health and Woking and use Ashford & St. Peter’s Hospitals for their treatment and care. The centre will become the ‘spiritual home of diabetes’ and an extremely effective multi-purpose, one stop, diabetes support unit offering out patient treatment, education for patients and clinicians and medical research.

The Stephanie Marks Appeal was launched in 2003. The Appeal is dedicated to improving the quality of diabetes care throughout Surrey and West Middlesex by significantly raising awareness of the condition, in addition to creating a dedicated ‘Diabetes Resource Centre’ based within the grounds of St Peter’s Hospital Chertsey. It will link to GP clinics and community hospitals throughout the locality, giving faster and easier access to a broader level of care closer to home.

24,000 patients per annum with the condition were predicted to be seen at Ashford & St Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust by 2010 – that number has already been reached! Therefore, plans are in place to create a Diabetes Resource Centre by modifying and refurbishing The Croft, an existing building located in the grounds of St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey. This will save time, money and meet all of the objectives of the Appeal.

This milestone wouldn’t have been reached had it not been for the Appeal’s huge supporter base. As part of the event Peter Curtis and Mick Hickman from the Trust’s Capital Projects team along with Tony O’Brien, landlord of The Crown Hotel,Chertsey and some of his regular customers, were launched on their 250 mile, three day cycle ride from Chertsey to Paris, by Sir Ian.

Sir Ian also presented a certificate to Mrs Sarah Bone – Chief Executive Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation and Mrs. Jane Sutherland-Earl – Trustee in recognition of their grant of £81,000, the second largest grant ever received by the Appeal. The launch event was supported by Grundon Waste Management Limited and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Ian ended the day’s innings by joining three guests for a charity four-ball in aid of the appeal generously hosted by Sunningdale Golf Club.