Warm and festive atmosphere greeted over 40 members of the Fryern Ladies Probus Club who attended the December meeting.
Glasses of wine and soft drinks were served to everyone on arrival, who then chose their seats in friendship groups, in the beautifully decorated dining room at the Roundabout Hotel in West Chiltington.
Following a toast to the Queen, a seasonal lunch of roast turkey or beef with all the trimmings as well as a vegetarian option was served with fresh vegetables, preceded by the pulling of crackers with jokes, toys and decorative crowns, making for an enjoyable time of celebration. Following the much enjoyed lunch and coffee, President, Jean Minter introduced the speaker for the afternoon, the popular local vet, Julian Hoad, well known to many members for caring for their pets over many years.
Julian’s subject was ‘ My Life as a Vet’ and he began by showing a photograph of James Herriot, together with a second of Christopher Timothy, who had both inspired him as a boy to become a vet himself in later life. Although he found it difficult to be accepted at vet school initially, his first degree was in Virology, but that desire had not left him and he persevered and was then accepted at the Royal Veterinary College, London for a five-year training.
This covered all aspects of work with animals, but following a few dangerous mishaps with horses and a very difficult donkey, resulting in admission to hospital for some quite serious injuries, Julian decided his skills were best employed in the treatment of small domestic animals, mainly dogs and cats but also other pets popular with families.
Whilst undertaking this work, he also had to maintain his skills with regular updating and attending lectures on the latest research, as well as pursuing a number of both related and outside interests, very important to anyone undertaking what can be a stressful career. Teaching trainee nurses, writing articles and books also form an important part of his life, as well as giving talks to local groups and donating his fee to Macmillan Cancer Research.
Some rather graphic pictures gave a vivid insight into some of the complicated operations which can now be carried out and cancer can be treated in a number of larger animals with very encouraging results. During questions, Julian was able to give a lot of sound advice on the feeding of pets and what household medicines can and can’t be given.
He was warmly thanked by Valerie Beswick and after the raffle was drawn, a most enjoyable and informative meeting drew to a close with a toast to Probus and warm wishes to members for Christmas and New Year when the group meets again on Thursday January 7.
Report by Rachel Martin. Pictures contributed.