Diabetic’s anger over gym ‘ban’ in King’s Lynn

Diabetes sufferer Penelope Angel has been barred from the council gyms because of her diabetes.
Diabetes sufferer Penelope Angel has been barred from the council gyms because of her diabetes.

A diabetic has claimed she is being discriminated against after she was barred from using a Lynn gym.

Officials say Penelope Angel was asked not to go to the St James swimming and fitness centre as a temporary measure because of concerns over her health.

But Ms Angel, who has type one diabetes, insisted that staff were aware of her condition when she signed up at the gym last summer.

She uses an electronic device to monitor her blood sugar levels and often eats a sweet during exercise to maintain the correct levels.

She said she had used the Blackfriars Street facility several times per week without any problems until the dispute began earlier this month.

She claims she was initially advised she could not eat during sessions, before being told not to attend the centre at all.

She said: “I would understand it if I had caused an issue with my diabetes. Eating a sweet is hardly enough to stop me from using the gym.

But a West Norfolk Council spokesman said the decision was taken because of concern over Ms Angel’s condition.

She said: “The wellbeing of our clients is of paramount importance to us.

“On occasions we may seek further medical guidance about specific conditions so that we can help clients to use the facilities in a safe and effective way.

“This may mean that clients are temporarily requested not to use the facilities until we have sufficient information to ensure that we can support them appropriately.”

But Ms Angel, of Tilney St Lawrence, said she was less at risk of a serious diabetic episode because of the steps she takes to monitor her condition.

She said she felt “victimised” and is planning to make a formal complaint.

She added: “People with diabetes have to eat and drink to do exercise. That’s part of the condition. This really does affect lots of people.”