Francis James Bell

Francis James Bell was a local man from Darlington who lived his life with diabetes. His wife passed before him, and having no children to leave his estate to he chose to leave his money to a cause close to his heart; to support diabetic research. The Solicitor dealing with the will went in search of a charity that could best support Francis’ wishes and they chose County Durham Community Foundation. The Francis James Bell fund was set up to support students or staff in the North East, who need financial assistance to research the effects of diabetes and possible methods of prevention or cure.

Durham University PhD student Jenny Howse received funding from the Francis James Bell Fund to research the possible detection of diabetes through eye examinations. Having successfully completed her research project, Jenny has been offered a position as a research fellow to continue her studies into ways of improving access to screening and detection of diabetes in “high risk” populations across County Durham and the North East.

A total of £18,200 from the fund has allowed Jenny to carry out ground breaking research and she has now been invited to present her findings at an international conference.