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Kimberley Families

The Collett Family
as told by Harry Collett

Charles Collett and Tom Bray, both worked in a mine in Rhodesia, Africa. In the course of events Tom Bray came to Kimberley and in 1927 he encouraged Charles to come here also. Mrs Collett and young son were not well in Africa, as the climate did not agree with them. The boy had contracted polio when very young so she went back to England for a time. Before entering Canada they were given vaccinations and this added to his weakened condition, and he passed away shortly after arriving in Kimberley in 1928.

They had three children, two sons and a daughter, the eldest boy that died had been born in Africa, the other two in England. Mrs. Collett came from Raynham, England where Harry was born. He was fourteen when he arrived here, so attended school from grade seven to eleven in Kimberley. He remembers his first teacher was Miss Bertha Shields.

Mr. Collett worked in the Testing Department in the Tin Plant at the Concentrator, and was responsible for setting up the system to extract tin from the other metals. He and Tom Bray were sent back to Africa for a year to do some tin exploration for the Company in Nigeria.

Mrs. Collett spent two years in Vancouver, where Harry graduated from High School, and spent a year at Pitman Business College. They returned to Kimberley in 1938 and he was placed in the Personnel Office. In 1942 it was discovered he had contracted T.B. and he was sent to Tranquille for two years. Here he met Julie Lasell, a girl from Alberta that worked in the diet kitchen at the sanitarium.

Harry Collett

They were married in the Kimberley Anglican Church by Reverend Resker in 1944. They made their home in Chapman Camp, where they still reside.

They have four children, all born in Kimberley. Beverley is a research assistant at the University of Victoria, where she took her Bachelor of Science Degree, she is now Mrs. Hall. Richard is a chef at the Chateau in Victoria. Michael worked for the Company in the Concentrator Warehouse for a year before continuing his education at B.C. Institute of Technology. Joan is still attending school in Kimberley.

Going back to the summer of 1952, which was very hot and dry, and the swimming pool was in much use, a polio epidemic broke out in Chapman Camp. In a short space of time, there were numerous cases and nine deaths. The Colletts had much to be concerned about, as their three children were at a most susceptible age. Almost the entire population was under quarantine. The schools did not open in September until it was felt safe to do so. Harry was extremely worried as he knew what the dreaded polio had done to his older brother.

It was not the swimming pool that was contaminated. The village council decided that after thirty years of cesspools and septic tanks drain- ing down hill to just below the pool was the cause. Seepage on the surface near Black Bear was at fault. A proper sewage was installed shortly after.

Harry was a contributing editor for the Cominco magazine for twelve years, and was Secretary-Treasurer of the Employees Welfare Society for several years. We are grateful to Harry for his assistance as proofreader for this book.

Harry is a rock hound and loves roaming the hills around Kimberley. Since his retirement he has done much of it and takes his dog on long tramps through the woods. He likes to fish and sometimes does a little gold panning.

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