Banting House 'Flame of Hope' extinguished by vandals
The Flame of Hope was lit by the Queen Mother in 1989
The Flame of Hope that sits outside of the Banting House National Historic Site in London, Ont., and isn't supposed to be extinguished until a cure for diabetes is found, was destroyed by vandals over the weekend.
The museum's curator was called to the museum on Saturday night by the fire department.
"I raced over there and I saw that the flame had been snuffed out. I took a quick look, you could see someone had stuffed debris into the bowl that holds the flame. I'm hoping it's just the ignitor that's damaged." said Grant Maltman.
"It's become an international symbol of the battle against diabetes, it was lit by the Queen Mother in 1989. It serves as a reminder that we are still looking for a cure."
"This was a senseless act against something that represents hope for millions of people," Maltman said.
People from more than 80 countries come every year to the museum, making what they call a pilgrimage to the place where the life-saving medicine began.
Last night the Flame of Hope was vandalized. Our thanks to the London Fire Department Station 9 for your quick response & careful care in securing it. While we work on repairs, we have "lit" a symbolic Flame of Hope in our window.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BantingHouse?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BantingHouse</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/diabetes?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#diabetes</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/T1D?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#T1D</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/T2D?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#T2D</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/insulin?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#insulin</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ldnont?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ldnont</a> <a href="https://t.co/VgxuhorCLY">pic.twitter.com/VgxuhorCLY</a>—@BantingHouse
Sir Frederick Banting lived in the home in 1920 and 1921 and thought of the idea that led to the discovery of insulin while living there. The museum is located on Adelaide Street, near Queens Ave, east of London's downtown.
The museum has a small travelling flame it uses for events and Maltman has plugged that in inside the museum.
"We plugged it in in the front window. We want people to know we're still thinking about the people who are affected by diabetes, and that we will be working to make sure the flame comes back," he said.
There has been an outpouring of support for the museum on social media, Maltman said, with many asking how they can help or contribute to the restoration of the flame.
"It's a recognizable landmark that people know and cherish and really take ownership of in the community. People are really disappointed that this happened."