Obituary: Dr Martin Paul Weaver, veterinary surgeon
Born: 29 July, 1962, in Glasgow. Died: 28 September, 2012, in Edinburgh, aged 50
Martin Weaver was born in Glasgow and had an English father (the noted expert cattle veterinarian Dr David Weaver) and a German mother, factors which influenced his career greatly. Martin always had a great love of animals and as a teenager had a very large collection of canaries, which his parents somewhat reluctantly inherited when he went to Glasgow University to study veterinary medicine.
Martin qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1986 and for the first two years after qualifying worked in general practice in Dunoon, and then Thirsk, North Yorkshire.
Due to his knowledge of the German language and his German heritage, he next became an intern in Munich University between 1988 and 1990, and during that time he obtained a Doctor of Med Vet from that university. For the following two years Martin worked as an intern in Bernhard Huskamp’s famous Tierklinik Hochmoor Equine Clinic, in Germany.
On returning to Britain, Martin was awarded a HBLB scholarship to undertake a residency in equine diagnostic imaging at the University of Cambridge, which he performed between 1991 and 1994.
During this residency he obtained both the RCVS certificate of veterinary radiology and later the RCVS diploma in veterinary radiology. Martin then became a research assistant in the Royal Veterinary College, London, during which time he performed a PhD on the pathology of equine navicular disease.
In 1997 Martin moved to the veterinary faculty of University College Dublin, where he was a university lecturer in large animal surgery with a continued strong interest in imaging, and also in zoo animal medicine. Martin remained in UCD until 2001, when he joined the equine department of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies of the University of Edinburgh, where he was a senior lecturer in equine surgery, specialising in imaging and orthopaedics, until his untimely death, aged 50.
Following his residency at Cambridge, Martin remained deeply involved with veterinary imaging including acting as an RCVS examiner, treasurer of the European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging and as an external examiner for many universities. He contributed to continuing education courses in large animal radiology at the universities of Glasgow and Cambridge, Royal Veterinary College, London, and University of Sassari, Sardinia. Martin also had many refereed publications, mainly on bovine orthopaedics earlier in his career and latterly on equine lameness, especially back problems and on equine imaging.
Martin had a very kind, mellow personality and a great sense of humour. He loved teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students and obtained the highest student teaching appraisals, including for his regular voluntary tutorials after normal working hours with final year students.
Martin’s talent as a teacher was also due to his great ability as a story teller. He never tired of telling his famous “gorilla story”. When working in University College Dublin, he had to treat a gorilla in Dublin Zoo – first needing to anaesthetise it with drugs fired from an anaesthetic dart rifle.
However, while he was aiming the rifle though the bars of the cage, the gorilla suddenly shot across the cage and pulled the rifle out of Martin’s hands – after an anxious pause, the gorilla then bent the rifle in two and handed it back to a partly grateful Martin.
In addition to his undergraduate teaching, Martin was also very supportive of younger staff members and ran imaging and surgery rounds for them in the morning before normal working hours.
Martin was treasurer of the Dick Vet Students’ very successful Exmoor Pony Trekking Society, helping enormously with its administration and financial stability for many years.
Martin had many outside interests including hillwalking in his beloved Scotland and on the continent, and latterly sea kayaking. He sang in the Heriot Watt University Choir (although a University of Edinburgh staff member!) and was deeply involved in contemporary literature, spending holidays at book festivals.
At the end of 2010, Martin found out that an illness he had been receiving treatment for over a prolonged period was, in fact, cancer which now had metastasised and was untreatable. He bore this illness bravely without complaint, continuing to work at the veterinary school until three days before his death.
Martin’s colleagues and present and former students will always remember his great contributions to our veterinary school over the past ten years – especially his absolutely outstanding teaching. We will also miss his friendship, serenity and loyalty.
The packed congregation at Martin’s funeral service at Mortonhall Crematorium on 8 October included his colleagues and friends from Germany, Ireland as well as the UK, and all were privileged to hear renditions by the Heriot Watt Choir.
Our sincere condolences to Martin’s wife Jane, his parents David and Ruth, siblings Christoph and Annette, and their families.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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