Focus: Finance and Governance - Trustee talk - Graham Spooner, Diabetes UK

I first became involved with Diabetes UK in 2000, shortly after my own diagnosis. I became a life member and was introduced to its fundraising team by one of my colleagues, who had business dealings with the charity.

I was elected to its advisory council in 2003 and awarded its Charity Champion award in 2004. I am now its treasurer and senior vice-patron.

My fundraising involvement has been to help develop our major donor and corporate partner programmes - these supporters are very important to Diabetes UK.

We run a vice-patrons scheme in which you need to pledge a certain amount per year to the charity. So far, we have 20 vice-patrons, and they have pledged £500,000 over three years. This is committed to our research programme, which currently stands at £5m per year.

We run events with the charity to help raise money. For instance, at the vice-patrons' launch event last November, we raised £123,000. At a recent corporate-sponsored dinner with celebrity chef Anthony Worrall Thompson, we raised £20,000.

Our corporate partners include Lloyds Pharmacy, which runs a successful diabetes screening programme, and Morrisons, which raised £700,000 for us as its Charity of the Year in 2004.

We have 170,000 members and 350 voluntary groups that make major contributions.

Given our high profile, however, it is surprising that we are ranked at number 250 among UK charities in financial terms.

I am particularly concerned that there are a million people in the UK walking around with diabetes who are not yet aware of their condition.

Until five years ago, I was one of those 'missing million'. At present, I am one of the lucky ones because I now have my diabetes under good control.

Sadly, this is not true for everybody.

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