When retired manager, Tony, 72 had a chest infection he couldn't shake, his GP ordered a blood test. It revealed that Tony was borderline diabetic.

"My test showed I was just a step away from having diabetes. I wasn't expecting that at all but I knew I had to do something."

When Tony received the invitation to come to a Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in Battle, he thought: "If someone is offering the opportunity, I should grab it."

The programme, delivered by Ingeus, aims to support those at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes to reduce that risk, or even stop them getting diabetes altogether.

"I wasn't comfortable with the idea of a group setting," admitted Tony. "But the educator Jo was very good and explained everything so well. In fact, the first session was quite an eye-opener. I had some pre-conceived ideas about Type 2 diabetes so it was a wakeup call to realise how serious it is."

The grandad of three, added: "I enjoy the sessions now and I see the benefits of thegroup experience. You get to know the other participants and everyone becomes more comfortable and confident, indeed some are very enthusiastic which is inspiring. It also makes sense why the programme is spread over 10 months. Even the most strong-willed could slip back into their old ways without this support. It helps you build new habits.

"I haven't had to make dramatic changes. I stepped up my walking and quickly found that I became fitter and less out of breath. I also cut down on fried food and sugar, especially in my tea and coffee.

"Small changes have had cumulative effects: I've lost 7kg and my latest blood test showed that I've lowered my diabetes risk.

"I'd say to anyone who's hesitating joining the programme that they should ask themselves; do I want to develop a serious health problem? There's an opportunity for free help and it certainly pays to take advantage of it."

Ingeus educator, Jo Redfearn added: "Tony has already achieved many of the health goals he set for himself. His results demonstrate how even small changes to our lifestyle can change the direction of our future health for the better."