Diabetic pupil champions healthy dinners at Padiham school

Pupil Millie Lyle who has helped to introduce ground-breaking food measures for diabetics at Shuttleworth College in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons
Pupil Millie Lyle who has helped to introduce ground-breaking food measures for diabetics at Shuttleworth College in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons

A dedicated Burnley pupil with diabetes has helped revolutionise school dinners at her Padiham school.

Millie Lyle (14) who has potentially life-threatening Type 1 diabetes, started a campaign to change the way sugary food and drinks were labelled at Shuttleworth College.

The Year 9 pupil, who was diagnosed with the incurable condition aged 13, wanted to provide sugar-free drinks for diabetic and health-conscious pupils.

But the youngster, who has to control her blood sugar daily with doses of insulin, took the idea a step further by calling for a traffic light system on all school food to clearly show the salt, sugar and fat content.

Headteacher Mr Bob Wakefield and the school’s catering managers backed Millie’s plan and the scheme is set to be rolled out at Shuttleworth in September.

Millie hopes that the diabetic-friendly scheme will help all pupils make healthier meal choices and believes other Lancashire schools should follow Shuttleworth’s lead.

She said: “This scheme is for everyone so everyone can be healthy. The traffic light system for the meals shows how many sugars, salts and saturated fats so kids who are health-conscious can know what is in their food.

“They have already trialled the flavoured water and sold 50 cases in three days.

“I have not heard of it anywhere else. It could be a new trend for schools to follow. It will help pupils make healthier choices and educate them. I hope other schools will follow it.”

Millie has to maintain a strict diet and said diabetes had changed her whole life.

“It can be a pain. I have to inject insulin four times a day for the rest of my life.

“I have to watch everything I eat and watch all the exercise I do in case I do too much.

“If I go too low I can end up in a coma and the same happens if I go too high.”

But to make managing her condition easier she dreamed up the idea of a traffic light food system at school.

The headteacher, speaking in the school newsletter, praised Millie for helping lead the way to a healthier school.

He said: “Millie Lyle from Year 9 recently met with Suzanne Taggart, our college manager, and Annette Dickinson, our catering manager, over a request for clearer labelling of meals and snacks to show what they contained.

“Millie suggested a traffic light system for all foods so that everyone would be aware not just of the sugar content , but also the fat and salt content too.

“Millie felt strongly that such a system would make everyone, the whole college community, more conscious of the healthier options available and encourage all students and staff to think carefully about what they eat .

“Annette was so impressed by Millie’s ideas that the new traffic light system will be up and running by September.”

He added: “Well done Millie, you have shown that you can change things and make a difference!”

Millie’s mum Sandie, of Newton Street, hailed her achievement. She said: “I am very proud of what she has done. She has done really well.”