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Find out the latest news about JDRF's research and fundraising events.

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Glamorous Downton Abbey dinner raises funds for JDRF and National Osteoporosis Society

Downton Abbey stars took a break from shooting for the show’s much-anticipated fifth season with a charity dinner in support of JDRF.

Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern (who play Lord and Lady Grantham), Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt (Mr and Mrs Bates) and Jim Carter (Mr Carson) graced the event on 27 March, which was also staged in support of the National Osteoporosis Society.

140 guests dined exclusively in the Library of Highclere Castle, the Hampshire stately home now known globally by its fictional name of Downton Abbey. JDRF supporter Lord Julian Fellowes, the show’s creator, was in attendance with his wife Lady Emma Kitchener. Iconic actress and JDRF patron Lady Susan Hampshire OBE was also present.

The real-life owners of Highclere Castle, The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, kindly hosted the party. All proceeds from the evening went to both charities and an incredible total of £172,000 has been raised so far.

With the show currently set in the Roaring Twenties, dinner guests were transported back to this era of glitz and glamour. Guests were able to bid on exclusive and unique prizes in a silent auction that included Lady Cora’s tiara and Lady Edith’s earrings as biddable items. A live auction was later hosted by Downton’s well-loved Jim Carter.

Karen Addington, CEO of JDRF said: “We are immensely grateful to The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon for hosting such a wonderful evening and supporting our mission to treat, prevent and eventually cure type 1 diabetes. Our warmest thanks also go to Lord and Lady Fellowes, Susan Hampshire, and all who supported the event.”

Lord Fellowes – whose full title is the Lord Fellowes of West Stafford – is a strong supporter of both type 1 diabetes and osteoporosis issues. It has been reported that a future Downton Abbey episode could feature a character who is affected by type 1 diabetes.


Good luck to our rowing heroes, Harry and Alex, who leave the UK this weekend to embark on their remarkable transatlantic voyage!

Alex Bland and Harry Martin- Dreyer will be rowing across the Atlantic Ocean next month in a bid to raise over £125,000 for charity. They leave the UK this weekend for Gran Canaria, where they will attempt to row more than 3,000 miles in a two man boat.

Consuming between 5,000 and 6,000 calories a day, they will be rowing alternately on two hour shifts, 24 hours a day, for up to three months and will have to contend with the prospect of tropical storms, 50ft waves, giant super tankers and sharks. This is a huge test of endurance, and will require them to draw on months of intense training and preparation.

Harry and Alex will be rowing in aid of both JDRF and Cure Leukaemia and have proved themselves phenomenal fundraisers as well as athletes – having already raised over £119,000 of their £125,000 charity target.

TV personality and Atlantic rowing veteran, Ben Fogle, said: “Harry and Alex, I know myself from my expedition with James Cracknell that it takes every ounce of determination and will to complete this crossing but I’m sure you will find a way to reach your goal. Many congratulations for raising the money you have already for Cure Leukaemia and JDRF; the work they are doing is so important and if you keep that focussed in your mind you will find the courage to get across the Atlantic. Good luck!”

Michael Connellan of JDRF said: "This is a truly remarkable and courageous challenge that both Harry and Alex are embarking on. We wish them both all the best on their voyage and we thank them for the phenomenal amount that they have already raised to support vital research. Harry and Alex's magnificent journey is taking us even closer to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes." 

The pair will depart from Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, on 1 December and will travel all the way to the west coast of Barbados in the Caribbean.

JDRF will be avidly following their journey along the way. For more information or to make a donation, please visit


JDRF meets business leaders in spectacular skyline setting

London’s iconic Gherkin was the location for a prestigious event involving some of the capital’s most influential business figures – getting together for the benefit of JDRF.

The business breakfast, which took place on Thursday 17 October, was hosted by JDRF and its Corporate Leadership Group. The spectacular venue was very generously secured for the charity by long-term supporter and Board member Dominic Christian, Chairman of Aon Benfield.

Ruth Caulfield, Corporate Development Fundraiser, at JDRF, said: “We were delighted that some of the City’s leading talents could join us to hear about how their company can support JDRF.”

“Dominic Christian also very kindly opened the event for us, and we heard inspirational speeches from Rachel Engel, Senior Manager at Macquarie Bank, and from JDRF team members.” 

She added: “It was a huge success, leaving us optimistic that our on-going discussions will result in some very exciting new partnerships.”

 If you would like to find out how your company can get involved with JDRF, please contact Ruth: 


Come on down to Alresford Music Festival

A fun filled family orientated festival 

The Alresford Music Festival will be taking place this year on the 9 June at Arlebury Park, Alresford, Hampshire. Entering its third year the event will take the ‘community festival’ concept to another level, having been dreamed up by local Alresford resident Ken Veitch as an idea to raise money for local charities, with Ken teaming up with local artists and businesses to make the dream a reality.

Tapping into local contacts, the festival has slowly taken shape and, with just a few weeks to go, the team has grown to include eight dedicated volunteers and numerous professionals and companies hired for the day.

Ken is calling for local residents and music lovers from far and wide to come along and join in with this fun, family orientated event, which will showcase a diverse range of music styles from both established and emerging local talent, with profits going to charity, including JDRF. 

JDRF has been specifically chosen as Ken and his wife Alison have two sons who both live  with type 1 diabetes, so the condition has had a big influence on their lives. However, Ken and Alison are quick to point out that they have not allowed it to affect whatever their boys want to do, and both 20 year old Alexander and 15 year old Christian ski, snowboard, skateboard, and play football, amongst other things.

Ken said: “It has been a massive learning curve over the last three years but we now know how to create and put on this fabulous event efficiently. We now have a great local company First Option who are supporting our vision. Now, with a few weeks to go the event is shaping up to be the best ever. and we hope that local residents, music and festival lovers come down and support us. JDRF is the world’s leading charitable funder of research to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes, and as my family has been directly affected by the condition, the charity was my obvious choice.  I have always wanted to put on a music festival, after being inspired by Eric Clapton’s CrossRoads Festival and this charity event is a great way to showcase good local music and highlight worthy causes, such as JDRF.

“Our ultimate aim is to have a fabulous vibe for the day which includes interesting aspects for children in terms of music, hands on involvement and many attractions that they can enjoy in an ultra-safe environment.”

So come on down to this musical extravaganza that will be fun for all the family. For further information and an event line up please visit:


Well done to JDRF's Virgin London Marathon runners

Congratulations to all of the JDRF runners who completed Sunday's Virgin London Marathon. The team featured 195 runners (including 26 with type 1 diabetes) who successfully completed the 26.2 mile course from Greenwich Park to The Mall. After crossing the finish line the runners met up with their supporters at the JDRF Recovery Venue for a well deserved sit down and massage. A special thank you to all the volunteers who helped out on the day cheering the JDRF team on from our Supporter Zone, and also to the students from Moulton College in Northamptonshire who provided the massage service for the JDRF runners at our Recovery Venue.

If you are interested in running the Virgin London Marathon 2013 for JDRF please contact Jon Medcraft on 020 7713 2032 or email


Type 1 fundraiser nominated for aware

A life in the day with type 1

Matthew Thackeray, aged 10 from Hartlepool, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January 2011. In August he was awarded a certificate of merit for writing a creative piece of distinction, which was selected for publication in a Young Writers Anthology.

The book, Once upon a rhyme 2011, has now been published and here is Matthew’s poem, which he would like to share with everyone. 

Life in a day – A diabetic day

I wake up in the morning feeling like normal
Then I go into my cupboard and get out my injection
I put the needle in my leg
I don’t feel it anymore! 

At school I feel shaky
This means I’m low
I put the needle to my finger
I don’t feel it anymore!

At teatime I check my blood count
I have my injection
I put the needle to my leg
I don’t feel it anymore!

At 8 o'clock its bedtime
I have my last injection
I fall asleep
I don’t feel it anymore!

Matthew Thackeray (age nine).


1Quest weekend

JDRF holds its first 1Quest weekend

On Saturday 22 October, eight children with type 1 diabetes arrived at Avon Tyrrell in the New Forest to begin their 1Quest weekend. Travelling from as far as Leeds, the children arrived, eager to begin their weekend full of fun and challenges.

Over the weekend, the children were able to take part in adrenalin filled activities, such as zip wire and high ropes. The activities tested their team building skills and nerve. At the end of the raft building challenge, all the children even jumped into the freezing cold lake!

Throughout their stay at Avon Tyrrell the children were well cared for by PDSN Jennifer Luscombe from the University College of London. JDRF staff and Jennifer ensured the children were regularly tested and, if necessary, treated during the weekend.

Raising money for type 1 diabetes research and developing life skills

In order to join the 1Quest weekend, participants had to raise a minimum of £300. They did this by asking for donations from friends and family, organising bake sales, and even doing a sponsored 10 mile walk. Their fundraising will help JDRF to continue supporting research into type 1 diabetes, but has also provided participants with skills they can use later on in life.

JDRF would like to thank the Monument Trust for their support of 1Quest and providing funding for the event. We would also like to thank all the children who attended the 1Quest weekend and we hope they had as much fun as we did.

If you would like to register you interest for the next 1Quest weekend, please email Hannah Roberts,