John Shave, from Rushden, has been living with Type 1 diabetes for 60 years, after having been diagnosed at just 18 months old.
Type 1 diabetes can significantly reduce a patient's lifespan, and to mark the achievement of living with the disease for six decades Diabetes UK have honoured him with the Robert Lawrence Medal.
The long-time Saints supporter was brought to Franklin's Gardens by his wife Lorraine and other friends and family for today's surprise presentation, and John says that he was delighted to receive the Medal.
"It's unbelievable for me, and for me it's like winning the Olympics," he said. "I've been overwhelmed and nearly burst into tears when we were taking the photo, that's how proud I was. It's been one of the biggest surprises of my life and one of the biggest achievements of my life.
"I try to live a normal life, but it's impossible with the diabetes, and I thank all the medical staff at Kettering General Hospital and Harborough Field Surgery in Rushden, who are fantastic with me.
"It was fantastic to meet the players today; you never know how big they are until you're stood next to them! And it was great to have my family and friends along too, to share this with me."
About Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes develops when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. As a result the body is unable to produce insulin and this leads to increased blood glucose levels, which in turn can cause serious damage to all organ systems in the body.
Ten percent of the 2.9 million people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes have Type 1, with 10 percent of the NHS's annual budget being spent on treating the illness.