Following his diabetes diagnoses, a businessman from Compton Bassett has joined forces with Olympic legend Sir Steve Redgrave to raise awareness of the disease and its links to sight loss in a nationwide campaign.

They plan to raise awareness during national diabetes week in June.

Julian Barlow, 57, who owns local PR firm BFC Marcomms Ltd, has worked with Sir Steve since he won his fifth Olympic gold medal in 2000, and earlier this year took over as his agent and manager, focusing on health-related sponsorship programmes.

Recently, he enrolled Sir Steve as a Specsavers ambassador.

Mr Barlow, said: “I have worked with Sir Steve for the past 15 years, particularly in the area of heath care, and he is still one of just a handful of athletes to have competed at a senior level in an endurance sport, in spite of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

“It was widely reported before he won his fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal that he had been diagnosed, but he still went on to win which was an incredible achievement.

“Last year I was also diagnosed with diabetes by my local GP in Calne. This gave me a much better understanding of the challenges sufferers face, and off the back of that we decided to pursue a partnership with Specsavers to encourage people to get regular eye tests.

“Sight loss is one complication associated with diabetes, but as well as monitoring general eye health, the test can also act as a form of early diagnosis for optical retinopathy.”

Mr Barlow, who is also a parish councillor for Compton Bassett, hopes to bring Sir Steve to the village in due course to help promote the campaign.

“I have worked all over Europe with Julian, especially in relation to raising awareness of diabetes and how important it is to integrate its management into your life.

“Now that he has been diagnosed himself he has given a new perspective on the disease and has been able to identify the most appropriate partners as we move towards national diabetes awareness week in June.”