A Norfolk charity which has ploughed �2.5m into improvements for the care and treatment of people with diabetes has held a celebration to mark a trio of centuries.

Today would have been the 100th birthday of The Norfolk Diabetes Trust's founder Elsie Bertram, and trustees, supporters and clinicians gathered yesterday at the Elsie Bertram Diabetes Centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to raise a glass to her memory.

The party was a chance to celebrate the achievements instigated by Mrs Bertram, who died in 2003, and started the Norfolk Diabetes Appeal in 1987, donating �100,000 of her own.

Both her sons, Nigel and Kip, were diagnosed with diabetes when they were teenagers and she wanted to improve the care for diabetics in Norfolk and her efforts led to the building of the Bertram Diabetes Centre at the then West Norwich Hospital in Bowthorpe Road, and then the establishment of the Norwich and Norfolk Diabetes Trust, now called The Norfolk Diabetes Trust.

When the facilities, which had vastly improved care for patients, were moved to the new N&N at Colney, the centre was renamed the Elsie Bertram Diabetes Centre in her honour.

Her sons, who were also celebrating 100 years between them of living with diabetes, led the celebrations at the centre yesterday, with trustee Kip, 68, saying: 'Our mother was single-minded and wouldn't take no for an answer, but people loved her because she had this charisma which drew people to her like a magnet.'

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The third century the event was marking, was that there are now more than 100 amputations each week in the UK due to diabetes, which is on the increase and which is estimated to affect 7.5pc of Norfolk's population.

Trust chairman Nigel Bertram, 64, said: 'This is not one of the more favourable reasons to celebrate but it is the reason why many of us as trustees are still working hard to raise funds and to continue funding services throughout Norfolk for patients with diabetes.'

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The trust has recently spent �200,000 on a new IT system for the centre, and is keen to extend its work with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn and the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston,

The trust is appealing for supporters and funds and cheques can be made out to The Norfolk Diabetes Trust, c/o Elsie Bertram Diabetes Centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7UY.

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