Dr Michael Hall, a Shebbear GP for 40 years, has won an award for his voluntary service.

A retired Shebbear doctor has won a prestigious award for his voluntary service.

Dr Michael Hall, whose 40-year medical career has focused on retinopathy screening research and the development of education services for people with diabetes, received the Order of Mercy award at a special ceremony at the Mansion House in London last month.

The League of Mercy chooses up to 30 people every year from across the UK to honour truly outstanding volunteers.

Dr Hall was, until his retirement in 2000, working as a GP in Shebbear.

He also held a post at the University of Sussex, before becoming a senior lecturer at the Department of General Practice, Exeter University.

His work there was largely involved with GP training, screening for diabetic retinopathy and practice organisation.

Dr Hall said: "This award came quite out of the blue.

"It is a fantastic honour. At Diabetes UK, and over the course of my career, I campaigned hard to ensure better education services for people with diabetes all over the country and on the prevention of diabetes-related eye disease.

"I'm proud of my achievements, though an award of this stature was quite unexpected.

"Voluntary work is an integral and important part of British life. I hope that this award can inspire other people to give up their time and become volunteers."

Dr Hall is currently a vice president for Diabetes UK.

Chris Askew, Diabetes UK's CEO, said: "Michael has made a hugely significant contribution to Diabetes UK since he joined us in 1987, and this award is recognition for his distinguished work on diabetes over many years.

"This exceptional award goes to an exceptional man, and is testament to his work both here in the UK and abroad; he is an inspiration to all of us."

Dr Hall, a keen sailor, now lives in Cowes on the Isle of Wight with his wife Ann, a former nurse.