Saints fan’s battle with diabetes honoured by coach and players

John Shave with Jim Mallinder, Dom Waldouck, James Craig and Tom Warren
John Shave with Jim Mallinder, Dom Waldouck, James Craig and Tom Warren

A Rushden man who has battled with diabetes all his life has been honoured by players and staff at Northampton Saints today, who presented him with a medal.

Saints’ Director of rugby Jim Mallinder and players Dom Waldouck, James Craig and Tom Warren, presented the medal to John Shave after he lived with the disease for 60 years.

The Saints fan, from Rushden, has been living with Type 1 diabetes all his life after having been diagnosed at just 18 months old.

Type 1 diabetes can significantly reduce a patient’s lifespan, and to mark the achievement of living with the disease for six decades Diabetes UK have honoured him with the Robert Lawrence Medal, which was handed to him by the coach and players.

Mr Shave said:“It’s unbelievable for me, and for me it’s like winning the Olympics.”

“I’ve been overwhelmed and nearly burst into tears when we were taking the photo, that’s how proud I was. It’s been one of the biggest surprises of my life and one of the biggest achievements of my life.

“I try to live a normal life, but it’s impossible with the diabetes, and I thank all the medical staff at Kettering General Hospital and Harborough Field Surgery in Rushden, who are fantastic with me.

“It was fantastic to meet the players today; you never know how big they are until you’re stood next to them. And it was great to have my family and friends along too, to share this with me.”

The long-time Saints supporter was brought to Franklin’s Gardens by his wife Lorraine and other friends and family for today’s surprise presentation.