A SCHOOL assistant at Peebles High has taken her diabetes campaign to Holyrood in memory of a former pupil.

Caroline Connor, who also works as a first aider at the school, cares for several type 1 diabetic pupils.

She is pushing for better education for pupils and school staff, including advice on how to manage the condition.

She said: “Peebles High is very lucky to have such a ‘diabetes friendly’ approach to caring for the pupils with the condition along with the support from the paediatric specialists at the BGH.

“Not all schools in Scotland are as fortunate. But I believe that a much wider recognition of the condition is needed within all schools to make it easier for our youngsters to deal with all that diabetes throws at them.

“Many pupils find it embarrassing to test regularly, especially in front of others and find testing removes them from social groups and makes them feel excluded when they want to fit in.

“Others don’t want to carry testing kits, insulin pens and supplies around with them and don’t want to wear insulin pumps because of the way they stick out through their clothes.

“Diabetes is an inconvenience unless they are prepared mentally and physically to deal with it and most importantly have the support of friends, family and teaching staff.

“It is a very complex condition to deal with – it’s not the same and cannot be compared to any other medical condition.

“Teachers could benefit from more professional development on the condition, it’s emotional, social and physical impacts on our young people.

“This would allow for greater wellbeing of the young persons in our care.”

In February, a former pupil of Peebles High and a type 1 diabetic, Robbie Pincott, died at the age of 20.

Caroline explained: “Robbie developed type 1 diabetes in first year of high school. He already had dyspraxia and ADHD and adding diabetes to the equation was just too much for him. He passed away very recently due to complications attributed to his diabetes.

“He was a lovely lad, full of mischief and fun and always at the heart and soul of his large family but diabetes was something that he could not manage, especially in school.

“He wasn’t just a pupil at my school, he became my pal and his parents will always be life long friends – I miss him desperately and don’t want his death to be in vain.”

After swimming across Loch Lomond to raise money for Diabetes UK last July, Caroline hopes to go one better by swimming 26 miles across Loch Awe and 23 miles across Loch Ness in the Highlands in his memory. A coffee morning will also be held in Peebles Rugby Club on Saturday, April 14, to support Caroline with her swims.

Earlier this month she attended a cross-party group meeting at the Scottish Parliament to tackle diabetes.