West Ham United Academy Director and type 2 diabetes sufferer Tony Carr MBE was the star turn at the Around U Soccer Skills Day.

Carr, who was diagnosed with the metabolic disorder in 2005, coached dozens of children at the London Soccerdome - a special free event for youngsters suffering from type 1 diabetes organised by the Hammers Academy.

An estimated 25,000 children under the age of 18 in the UK have diabetes - a condition which in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.

If it is not treated properly, diabetes can cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, sight problems and, in serious cases, heart disease.

The event was sponsored by Bayer Diabetes Care and supported by leading community website Diabetes.co.uk, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Youngsters attended the event from all over southern England, with children travelling from Essex, Hampshire, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and acrossLondon to receive tuition from one of English football's true greats of youth development.

Carr said the event helped not only to give the children a chance to improve their football, but also to provide advice and materials to help children and their parents or guardians manage their diabetes.

"Around U is the perfect environment for young people with diabetes to practice their football skills and learn how other people the same age, deal with their diabetes," he said.

"I was speaking with a parent whose son was only diagnosed with diabetes three months ago. He said dealing with diabetes was daunting but that an event like Bayer's Around U helped reassure him that he wasn't alone."

During the morning the youngsters were given dedicated soccer coaching while their parents could either watch, or listen to a fascinating talk on the latest research into diabetes.

After lunch the children took the opportunity to compete against each other in a mini football tournament, putting into practice some of the skills they had learned during the day.

The football day focused on good control - in the same way that people living with type 1 diabetes have to keep control of their blood glucose levels to ensure they remain healthy.

Bayer Diabetes Care spokeswoman Andrea Postles added: "It's the fourth year that we've held Around U Sports Days and they remain as popular as ever. This year the uptake in London has been fantastic and we were so pleased to see so many young people and their families in attendance.

"It quickly became evident that some of the youngsters have never had the opportunity to mix with other youngsters who also have type 1 diabetes, so this event will hopefully give them more confidence and strike up lasting friendships."

To find out more about Around U, visit www.bayerdiabetes.co.uk/aroundu.