A DIABETES champion from Wyre Forest has been named a Worcestershire “healthcare hero”, as part of an awards ceremony to mark 25 years of BBC Hereford and Worcester.

The broadcaster marked its quarter-century with a birthday honours award ceremony and Fred Holland, chairman of charity Diabetes UK’s – Wyre Forest branch – picked up the healthcare prize.

Mr Holland, 77, has collected more than £140,000 since he started fundraising for Diabetes UK in 1961 and became chairman of its Wyre Forest branch’s voluntary group.

He took action setting up a diabetes centre at Kidderminster Hospital – which is now named after him – after his daughter Vivienne was diagnosed with the illness in 1971, saying the services in the town were “not good”.

The awards were put on by the BBC and “unsung heroes” from across Herefordshire and Worcestershire were nominated across eight categories. For Mr Holland’s section, anyone working in the healthcare sector could be nominated by patients or colleagues.

Mr Holland said: “I am very proud of what I have done and that it has probably saved lots of lives and helped a lot of people.

“I was so shocked when I won.I thought I have no chance here and when they said I was the winner, I was in deep shock.”

As well as his charity work, however, he has also become a full-time carer for his ill wife Shirley.

Mark Hellings, assistant editor at BBC Hereford and Worcester, said: “Fred was one of the deserved winners and it was great to hear his and everyone else’s stories and see them on the night at the award ceremony.

“Judges were impressed with the fact he recognised there was little support or information about diabetes and the judges were left wondering how many people must have actually been helped in the last 44 years thanks to Fred. They were impressed with all the work he has done.”