James Bruce Collet, "Bruce" was born in Lyttelton in 1920. He attended the Lyttelton Main School before going to high school in Christchurch, having to catch the train each day. He then joined his father in the pharmacy business, working in his shop on the corner of London and Oxford Streets while attending technical college at night in Christchurch. Following a posting with the airforce to Fiji in Word War II he returned to his father's business, eventually taking sole charge and continuing the pharmacy business for many years.
He also followed his father, who was Deputy Mayor for Lyttelton, into politics, running for Lyttelton Mayor first in 1956 and succeeding to the position in 1959. He won six consecutive terms serving 18 years before standing down. He met Queen Elizabeth II on several occasions and was among the guests of honour at the Centennial Celebrations held at the Church at Rapaki in 1969 with, among others, the Maori Queen, Te Atairangikaahu and her husband Mr Whatumoana Paki. He also met the Queen Mother who advised him to 'save the quaint old buildings and not to let Lyttelton get too large' (Collett Family History).
Collett's Corner on the corner of London and Oxford Streets was named for Bruce. He was succeeded in pharmacy by one of his sons and the profession was continued by one of his granddaughters, a legacy of four generations in pharmacy (ibid).
According to the donor of the amber glass bottle containing Collett's Cough Elixir, it "was known locally that it would either kill you or cure you".