20 November 2012

Dr. Pearce and Dr. Collip

George Pearce is relentless. These were the admiring words of one of the speakers at the podium for today’s proclamation of November 20 as Dr. James Bertram Collip Day in Belleville.

Dr. George Pearce, a long time Society member, has devoted years of personal research, including a trip to Western Canada, to document the accomplishments of James Bertram Collip born in Thurlow Township (now part of Belleville), co-discoverer of insulin.

He has been persistent in championing the cause of this remarkable scientist and his contribution to the work of the team credited with the discovery of insulin.
Bruce Bedell, cried the news

Today marked the beginning of the public recognition in Belleville that Dr. Pearce has long sought for this important Canadian.

His Worship Mayor Neil Ellis
extends his congratulations
After years of painstaking research, things have moved quickly. In October, a delegation from the Society met with Heritage Belleville to plan a joint project to recognize Dr. Collip.

Impressed with the work that had been undertaken, Heritage Belleville asked Council to proclaim November 20th  Dr. Collip Day. The motion was made by Councilor Culhane and passed unanimously by Council on November 13th

Pat Culhane, George Pearce
Richard Hughes and Jeremy Davis
Plans were sketched out for a public event to announce the proclamation on the the 120th anniversary of of Dr. Collip's birth and emails and telephones started to hum.
Rosalie Spargo
Canadian Diabetes Association

The happy result was a podium event on the Parrott stage, overlooking the market where the young Belleville lad doubtless assisted his market-gardener parents with their vegetable stall. 

 After 120 years it was heartwarming to hear the accomplishments of Dr. Collip recognized publicly by so many people including His Worship Mayor Neil Ellis,  Councillor Pat Culhane, Heritage Belleville Chair Stanley Jones and Vice-Chair Jeremy Davis, Hastings County Historical Society President Richard Hughes, the Canadian Diabetes Association's Rosalie Spargo and Dr. Bruce Cronk.
Jeremy Davis
Heritage Belleville
And along with the words on the importance of the Canadian pioneers of insulin were words of thanks to Dr. Pearce whose work and persistence brought this together.

Next steps in the recognition of Dr. James Bertram Collip will involve a joint Society/ Heritage Belleville application to Ontario Heritage Trust for one of the familiar blue and gold plaques to be erected in Belleville.

Story Lindi Pierce/Nick White, pictures Nick White and Bill Kennedy.  An album with more pictures can be seen here.  A video of the event by Doug Knutson can be seen here


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