Reflections on Reading group over the last 40 years By Lindy Clay



The Reading and District Group of Friends were formed after an inaugural meeting held in Reading Town Hall on 7th February 1973.  Doctor Cox gave a talk and about 80 people attended.  Ray Henwood, Carol Cardwell, Don Abraham and Jo People went to the meeting and after this they formed the Reading and District Group of Friends.  After September the committee started meeting at each other’s homes.  

I joined the group in around 1978 when we moved to Reading after my husband retired from the Army and after the first year I joined the committee (they were desperate).  My first role on the committee was as ‘Show Secretary’ and Jo People who was show secretary at the time showed me what to do.  In those days we held Jumble Sales, Stalls at various shows, Local Contacts who would visit new diabetics in their designated areas, Tin Shakes, Information Tables at both hospitals, meetings and Wheelchair Marathons were some of the fundraising things we used to do.

St Johns Fete Reading School:

This was the first event of the year that was run for a very long time.  I always enjoyed organising volunteers on the rota, sorting out things to sell including books, the plant stall with plants from my cousin from the Laurels Plant Centre and of course the famous ‘Football Game’.

Battle Hospital Fete:

We used to have a stall at this Fete for a number of years but it was always difficult with lots of competition from other stalls and difficulty in setting up the tent, tables and goods to sell (a long way to walk with everything).  It was run by Reading WRVS.

Wheelchair Marathon:

This was run by Graham Paddy, chairman at the time and his wife Catherine Paddy, secretary for a number of years until they were posted and after this the REME at Arborfield continued with this event with the help of Barry Parker, chairman, Barbara Tinnion, treasurer and her sister.  All Craft DIY and some of their staff helped and provided the vehicle.  Both my daughters Donna and Shirley were some of the victims having to be pushed in the wheelchair that was very uncomfortable for them. 

 Fete at Shinfield Grange:

This was a fete that was held by the group with the help of Sue Errington and her husband who worked at Cutbush Lane teaching foreign students gardening.  The fete was opened by Flowella Benjamin (star from Play School) and my daughter Shirley had her ‘photo in the paper.

I feel it is a shame that these events are no longer held but that is progress and with meetings, info tables and the telephone service we can still help the many diabetics in the area and I will continue to support the group for as long as I am able.

 If anyone else has memories or reflections on their life with diabetes that they would like to share please email me on