Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, the first veterinary surgeon to be made a Life Peer of the House of Lords, has been awarded the Queen’s Medal – the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a veterinary surgeon by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
The Peer, who was brought up in Temple Sowerby and went to school in Penrith, is a former president of both the RCVS and the Royal Society of Medicine and received the Medal in recognition of his outstanding life-time contribution to veterinary science and the profession, above and beyond the call of duty.
Lord Soulsby graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 1948 and between 1964 and 1978 was a Professor of Parasitology at the University of Pennsylvania. He then moved to the University of Cambridge where he was both Professor of Animal Pathology and Dean of the Veterinary School until 1993. He was also a visiting Fellow or Professor in many leading institutions in Australia, Poland, Austria, Nigeria, Germany and the West Indies.
He was given the award by Professor Stuart Reid, the then President and now Senior Vice-President of the RCVS, at RCVS Day – the College’s Annual General Meeting and Awards Day – on Friday 10 July.
Professor Reid said: “Lord Soulsby has had a truly exceptional career, which in several respects is unique in its achievements, not least bridging the worlds of medical and veterinary science.
“He has worked tirelessly to promote the importance of veterinary science to society and is admired not only for his intellect, hard work and breadth of interests, but also his endearing personality.”
He added: “He has given an outstanding service to the profession, to veterinary science and to animal welfare and he has enhanced the reputation of the profession immeasurably.
“I can think of no finer tribute than the fact that the classic textbook Helminths, Arthropods and Protozoa of Domestic Animals , which he edited for many years and which is close to the heart of many a veterinary student, is commonly referred to simply as ‘Soulsby’ and he is fondly known as ‘Lord of the Worms’.
“His publications, research, international awards, fellowships, visiting professorships and prizes all testify to his global impact and reputation, but perhaps his greatest gift has been the stimulation and support he has given to hundreds of veterinary surgeons to aim for their highest goals.”
In accepting the award Lord Soulsby thanked his fellow Peer and veterinary surgeon Professor the Lord Trees for nominating him and paid tribute to his late wife Annette and all those colleagues and fellow veterinary surgeons who supported him through his career.
He added: “Looking back on my career, membership of the RCVS has carried me to many countries in the world and all the work I have enjoyed, and I hope that I have been able to progress veterinary medicine and ‘one health’ in all of those places.”
For the full details of RCVS Day please visit www.rcvs.org.uk/news-and-events/news/rcvs-day-2015/