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Amitabh BachchanAmitabh Bachchan opens diabetes charity in Britain
24th Aug 2008  10.00 IST
By Agencies  


Bollywood mega superstar Amitabh Bachchan who is in Britain for his worldwide 'Unforgettable Tour' on Saturday launched a diabetes detection van in Leicester supported by Keith Vaz, Labour MP of Indian origin.

Bachchan charmed one and all with his famous baritone and characteristic modesty as he joined Vaz and other volunteers of the Silver Star Appeal charity organisation.




The Big B launched the Mobile Assessment Unit that caries out free tests for diabetes and promotes culturally sensitive healthcare.

A local band played music as hundreds of fans turned out on Uppingham Road to welcome Bachchan. The city has a large population of Indian origin, has a high prevalence of diabetes.

"The love and affection of the people has not changed from when I was in this city 10 years ago and a lot of other communities could learn a lot from the one here in Leicester," Bachchan said.

Vaz was unaware about being infected with Type 2 diabetes until he visited an assessment centre in 2004. He set up the organisation in 2007 to mark the 20th anniversary of his election to the House of Commons and his 50th birthday.

About 50,000 pounds were raised after his efforts, which funded the first mobile diabetes assessment unit opened by Bachchan. The specially equipped van provides free blood sugar tests, which can detect the disease. Staffed by a trained nurse, the van attends health events and, by invitation, will visit businesses.

"I am delighted we have raised enough money to be able to acquire our own premises for the charity. I never thought it would be as successful as it has been," Vaz said.

Vaz, whose roots lie in Goa and is known to be a fan of Indian films, particularly of actress Rekha said, "For Leicester to welcome a star of the calibre of Amitabh Bachchan is a great honour and one that I know will have delighted our British Asian communities.

The diabetes van was taken to London, where visitors have included Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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