DIABETES can have cruel consequences for sufferers - and a special event held at Windsor Racecourse offered vital advice on how to avoid one of them.

Around 70 local people living with diabetes attended the event which was designed to highlight the importance of footcare.

Ben Harris from Slough gave a personal account of how he had to have his right leg amputated in 2012 aged 36, after three years of treatment for an ulcer that had formed on the joint of his big toe. He had his left leg amputated last year and has also suffered sight loss due to diabetic retinopathy.

Mr Harris, 43, works for SportsAble, the Maidenhead based charity that provides sports opportunities for people with disabilities.

He said: "I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when I was just 18. I’ve had both legs amputated since then and nothing prepares you for that.

"My podiatrist Angela Walker has been a huge inspiration and after 18 years of treatment we’ve become good friends. She has been a great support to my family including teaching my 12-year-old about foot care and understanding what to look for.

“My advice is this: always keep an eye on your feet if you have diabetes. Make sure you have no defects or injuries to your feet as diabetic feet are notoriously bad for healing. Get your doctor to refer you for a six month podiatry appointment to check on your feet. Watch out for the deadly blister as well.”

The event was organised by Diabetes UK along with the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust which takes in Slough's Wexham Park Hospital. Vascular nurse Jean Nixon and podiatry assistant Denise Vick, who are part of the multidisciplinary diabetic foot team at Wexham Park were also there to give advice.

Jill Steaton, regional manager in the South East for Diabetes UK, said: “A single preventable amputation is one too many. This event not only gives people with diabetes the necessary practical advice and information about how to look after their feet, but will also help them understand what healthcare they should be getting.”

For further information, you can visit https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/complications/feet/taking-care-of-your-feet