HISTORY OF THE CHRISTCHURCH DIABETES SOCIETY
On 31st May 1956, 43 people attended a meeting convened by Mr C. Maitland Sheppard to form the Christchurch Diabetes Society ~ the first lay group for diabetes to be established in New Zealand. Mr Maitland Sheppard was later elected President and held this position for the following ten years.
The aims and objectives of the Christchurch Society were set in line with those of the British Diabetic Association (BDA), and a Medical Panel, including Doctor D.W. Beaven. Four years later, in 1962, the Christchurch Society sponsored the formation of a Diabetes Society in Ashburton. Also, in this year, a National Diabetes Association was formed, based in Wellington.
The following year (1963), the Christchurch Society sponsored the establishment of a Diabetes Society in Timaru.
1964 was another busy year for the Christchurch Society, with the first National Raffle being held (to raise money for the National Research Fund). £3000 was raised, with sales amounting to £1136 attributable to Christchurch.
In 1965 the Christchurch Society held its first information stand at the November A & P Association Show. Also this year the Presidency passed to Mr Eric Blain.
1966 saw the first sales stall in Cathedral Square, to raise money for Research and operating expenses of the Society. The second National Raffle was held; again Christchurch played a major role with sales of tickets amounting to £1250. This year also brought the first distribution of membership information through the Pharmacy Guild.
A year later (1967) Mrs E. Hart, who held the position of Secretary to the Christchurch Society, was elected as the first Lay Delegate to the World Congress on Diabetes in Stockholm. A Film Premiere of the Rangiora Diabetes Survey was held, sponsored by the Society. It was in this year that the Society Rules were redrafted in order to become an Incorporated Society and the name changed to Christchurch Diabetes Society.
In 1968, the Christchurch Diabetes Society held the first National Children’s Camp at Wainui.
The appointment of the first Research Fellowship occurred in 1969 ~ it was awarded to Dr Lovell-Smith. Also this year saw the visit of Professor Renold from Geneva, Switzerland.
In 1970, a proposal was submitted to appoint a Welfare Officer, and the first meeting for Parents of Children with diabetes was organised. 6,500 Research Seal brochures were sent to Private Box holders (Post Office) and $1072 was raised.
1971 was another major year for Christchurch. A Children’s Camp was held at Glentui; in National Diabetes Week, a Detection Day was held in Cathedral Square. The first Annual Society Dinner was held; Mrs D. Cattermole was appointed as Voluntary Welfare Officer; John Jackson, Secretary General of the British Diabetic Association visited Christchurch; and there was a distribution of Society membership forms to all doctors. Also, this year Mr J.S. Foster was elected President.
1972 saw the appointment of Mr M.B. Forbes as Editor of the Newsletter; a Project Account established to provide funds towards a ‘Diabetes Centre’ and a Youth Committee appointed.
Two visitors from overseas were the highlights of 1973 ~ Dr Krall from the Joslin Foundation, and Dr J.D.N. Nabarro from London. Christchurch held its first Information Stand at the Winter Show in 1974.
Also, the first Christchurch Diabetes Detection Centre at the A & P Show was held, with the support of the North Canterbury Hospital Board and the Army Medical Corps. This year also saw the first Youth Group weekend at Hanmer. In 1975, a Christchurch Society raffle raised over $2000.
1976 included a National Camp at Woodend, and the appointment of a part-time (paid) Field Officer – Mrs D.M. Hill. ‘Diabetes Week’ this year involved displays and a Public Meeting in the Limes Room of the Town Hall with four speakers from overseas. ‘Friends of the Society’ – a group established for local district visiting – was established in 1977.
Mr Trevor Gollins, National President, visited Christchurch to present the first Joslin Medal ~ for completion of 50 years on Insulin ~ to Miss M. L. Gallagher. The society received a proposal from Professor D.W. Beaven and Mrs Alison Helm (Diabetes Nurse Educator) re the formation and establishment of a Diabetes Centre.
This, also, was the year that ‘Daytime’ meetings and ‘Married Couples’ meetings were introduced. The Youth Group organised a ‘Bikeathon’ to raise money for furnishing for the Diabetes Centre, and the Juniors held a picnic at Duvauchelles.
1978 saw the first weekend ‘Safari’ to Living Springs. The government provided a grant of $1800 for the painting of the Diabetes Centre (at the Arts Centre), by students, and the first Society meeting held at the Centre. Members donated over $500 towards Centre furnishings.
It was this year that Christchurch Society formed a steering committee to formulate plans to establish a Diabetes Foundation and an application for a Telethon appeal. Also, Mrs Doreen Hill was appointed as N.Z. Lay Delegate to the World Diabetes Congress in Vienna.
In 1979, the First National Diabetes Conference, organised and sponsored by the Christchurch Society was held. The following year, Ms Lynne Taylor was appointed Assistant Field Officer. A second ‘Safari’ weekend was held at Glentui, a Bushcraft weekend for Young Adults ~ organised by the Mountain Safety Council ~ was held, and Outward Bounders Association organised a weekend for Junior members at Kaituna.
The inaugural meeeting of the Diabetes Foundation was held in Wellington and a Telethon application lodged. Mr Kevin Sepie was elected President of the Christchurch Society in 1981. Membership this year totalled 600.
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