AN art project using thousands of socks to highlight the devastating effects of diabetes-related amputation has won two awards.

The Seven Thousand Feet installation was created by Pickmere artist Christine Wilcox-Baker with socks donated by patient support groups, lower limb amputees and people living with diabetes across Greater Manchester.

Inspiration came from the shocking statistic of 7,000 lower limb amputations per year in the UK as a result of diabetes complications, which has since increased to almost 8,800.

Knutsford Guardian:

From left, Katherine Grady, Christine Wilcox-Baker, Lisa Howell, Lillian Fallows, Professor Jane Eddleston MFT/UoM, who presented the award, at the Research Network Awards

Exhibited throughout the 2018 Manchester Science Festival, the project helped raise awareness of the serious but often avoidable outcomes of diabetes.

Attached to many of the socks are ‘lost property labels’ containing messages from patients, which bring home the effects of diabetes on people's lives.

Knutsford Guardian:

Seven Thousand Feet also included You Wear What You Eat, clothes representing a healthy balanced, less balanced and unhealthy diets, and The Diabetes Belt, to show how it feels to carry excess weight around the middle.

Christine said: “The garments were designed to give a visual message that eating a healthy, balanced diet can help prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes, and used the ‘traffic light’ system of food labelling.

Knutsford Guardian:

“The belt was assembled from a weighted exercise belt and digitally- printed cotton fabric, and the illustrations represent unhealthy food and drink that can cause you to gain weight and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

The art project was highly commended in the national Quality in Care Diabetes Awards 2019, in the category for Diabetes Collaboration Initiative of the Year – Adults.

Knutsford Guardian:

'You are what you eat'

The project also won recognition from the Greater Manchester Clinical Research Network, part of the National Institute for Health Research, winning the category for Best Public Engagement Contribution in the Network’s 2019 awards.

Christine attended the awards ceremony in Manchester with Katherine Grady, Lillian Fallows and Lisa Howell from Research for the Future, which encourages people to take part in NHS health research.

Knutsford Guardian:

'The diabetes belt'

Christine said: “We were absolutely delighted and amazed when they announced we had won our category.”

Seven Thousand Feet was conceived by Christine and Dr Martin Rutter, Professor of Cardiometabolic Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician at UoM and MFT.

Knutsford Guardian:

Christine wears one of the exhibition garments