Bursary created in memory of Kamloops music teacher

By Jill Sperling
May 11, 2016 - 4:45pm Updated: May 11, 2016 - 6:50pm

KAMLOOPS — Those who knew Peter Collins describe him as lovable, passionate, generous, and talented. 

Now, a year after losing a battle with cancer, a bursary has been created in his memory.

"He dedicated his life to music, and in the end he dedicated his life to teaching and the both are coming together in one," said Peter's wife, Rochelle Collins. "I know that he would be very honoured."

Peter taught music at the Kamloops Symphony Music School and it's there that students will now have the chance to experience the music that Peter was so passionate about. 

Carlene Wiebe taught with Peter at the music school. She said the bursary allows Peter's legacy of generosity to live on. 

"The bursary, in hopes, will give music students who maybe can't afford lessons the opportunity to take lessons, and I'm sure that will happen with kids who are really eager to take," Wiebe said. "So that's really exciting. Pete would be so happy about that."

According to Rochelle Collins, the Peter Collins Memorial Fund grew much quicker than expected. 

"When he was sick people wanted to donate to his health," Collins said. "Then when he actually passed away we decided to take those funds and further moneys that people wanted to donate and put it into a fund and we thought maybe there would be a couple thousand dollars."

However, the Jim Pattison Group donated more than $12,000, and a matching grant from the Canadian Heritage Endowment Incentives Program doubled the fund.

On Wednesday came the announcement of $10,000 from the Freemasons of BC and Yukon. 

"We're expecting to give out one bursary this fall to get things started," said Kathy Humphreys, Executive Director of the Kamloops Symphony Music School. "Then the following fall we'll see how it goes but I assume that it will be at least double that the next year and then eventually I'm thinking maybe in the neighbourhood of $2,000. So if we're doing $500 bursaries, possibly four of them."

Peter's father, Doug Collins, said the bursary doesn't erase the pain of his son's loss, but it's a way to keep his memory alive. 

"It's all about coming to grips with things and moving forward and moving past the incident," Collins said. "We'll miss him immensely, but this legacy is one of those things that will help keep it going and keep him fresh in our minds."

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