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College delighted to receive bust of founding BSAVA President

27 August 2013

We were delighted to receive a bust of the first President of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), Cecil Erskine ‘Woody’ Woodrow, from the current BSAVA President, Professor Michael Day.

 Bruce Vivash Jones, Michael Day, Brian Singleton, Neil Smith and Nick Henderson with the bust of Cecil 'Woody' Woodrow

The bust was presented by Professor Day to RCVS President Neil Smith at the College in Belgravia House, London, today, and is a replica of the bronze original, which stands in the BSAVA Headquarters in Gloucestershire.

Woodrow (1903-1990) graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1927 and, after working for a time as an assistant, purchased an equine practice in Chiswick, West London, which he developed successfully as a small animal practice, up to the outbreak of the Second World War.

After the war, during which he had joined the Thames Patrol with his yacht, and also piloted and navigated cargo vessels, he continued to build his practice, from new premises in London and in Kent.

These founder members, back in 1957, shaped the future for companion animal vets in the UK and globally, through their key role in establishing the BSAVA.

Woodrow was President of the Central Veterinary Society in 1956, when a meeting was called by Brian Singleton (later to become his practice partner) to discuss the formation of a small animal specialist group. Out of that meeting grew BSAVA, which held its inaugural meeting in March 1957, and Woodrow became its first President. He also authored the first BSAVA Handbook, The Export and Import of Dogs and Cats, published in 1962.

The presentation was attended by the three surviving members of the group that founded the BSAVA: Nick Henderson, Bruce Vivash Jones and Brian Singleton.

“The historical collection held by the RCVS reminds us of the journey taken by those who went before us, and helps us to understand the context of our profession in society today,” said Professor Day.

“I am delighted to present this statue of Woody Woodrow, the first BSAVA President, as a reminder of the contribution paid by those founder members back in 1957. They shaped the future for companion animal vets in the UK and globally, through their key role in establishing the BSAVA. These pioneers were ambitious about scientific excellence and created a supportive environment for continual professional development.

“It is thanks to people like Woody Woodrow, Nick Henderson, Brian Singleton and Bruce Vivash Jones that we have access to a richness of resources like Congress, the Journal of Small Animal Practice and the BSAVA manuals.

"Through our overseas membership and new developing countries membership categories, we are now able to share that richness with the world – their legacy is lasting and far reaching,” added Professor Day.

Receiving the bust, RCVS President Neil Smith said: “I am delighted to accept this bust on behalf of the College, to join our Historic Collection, which tells the story of the veterinary profession from its roots in equine practice to the vibrant and diverse profession we see today.

“It is through the foresight and energy of veterinary surgeons like Woody Woodrow, and his colleagues here today, that the profession has evolved and strengthened. It is incumbent on veterinary surgeons of this generation to engage in their profession and ensure it continues to demonstrate such vigour.” 

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