Bill Raby OBE, a Founding and Life member, longstanding Patron and first President of the Diabetes Association of the NT Inc, died on 4 March 2005. Born in the UK in 1917, Walter Arnold (Bill) Raby led a distinguished life that was marked by an extraordinary level of public and community service.
A barrister by profession, the first major acknowledgement of Bill’s great contribution to the community came with an Order of British Empire award in 1967. At this time, Bill was Assistant Police Commissioner in Sabah, Malaysia during the unstable period of the Confrontation. Bill and his wife, Janet, moved to the Territory in the late sixties, settling in Darwin where Bill became the first Crown Prosecutor in the NT.
In the late 1970s, Bill (who had diabetes) became increasingly concerned and frustrated at the lack of information and support services for people with diabetes in the NT. Together with a small group of people, he garnered public and government support and in 1980, the Diabetes Association of the NT Inc. (DANT) was formed.
Bill wrote the Association’s first Constitution which, some 25 years on, is substantially unchanged. His contribution and support for DANT was significant over many years and included the following Executive positions: President 1980-83, Vice President 1983-84 and 1986-88, and Secretary 1984-86. Bill was an active Patron and generous donor, and despite his advanced years and declining health, attended the Association’s 2004 AGM.
It is also through Bill’s efforts that people with diabetes in the NT have access to community based diabetes education. In 1988-89, he ensured that Professor Paul Moffitt’s entire Newcastle based diabetes education team visited the Territory to run information sessions on the need for the establishment of a diabetes education service. This was a key factor in convincing the NT Health Department to establish community based services in 1989. Bill strongly believed in the need for people with diabetes to take responsibility for self-management of their health and was an impassioned advocate of consumer empowerment through knowledge, information and understanding.