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IN a further tribute to Alfred Marr (VR, March 3, 2012, vol 170, p 233), Richard Jones, Mark Patteson, Ralph Abercromby and Celia Marr write: Alfie Marr was born in Aberdeenshire in 1924. He was the son of Alfred, a rather dour cattle farmer, and Margaret, a fiercely intelligent schoolteacher. It was from this background that Alfie's professional interests and qualities stemmed: throughout his career in veterinary medicine, he combined a passionate commitment to the health and productivity of dairy cattle with rigorous academic standards. It was Alfie's belief that practice is the most important setting for, and should be informed by, clinical research.
Alfie studied at the ‘Dick’ and, while receiving his graduation scroll, was delighted when the audience was told by the Dean: ‘All men have their faults, too much modesty is his’ – a story he told so frequently that his family began to suspect that the Dean might have been slightly mistaken about this aspect of his personality. After graduation, having rejected the option of a career as a ‘gentleman of the turf’ after brief but very illuminating work experience, Alfie joined the staff in Edinburgh as a houseman and then lecturer. Although his first love was cattle medicine, this opportunity allowed him to develop his clinical skills in a wide range of species, including on one alarming occasion being required to anaesthetise a tiger. After a period as a lecturer at the Glasgow university veterinary school, in 1954 he went for an interview at Pugh and Bruford in Sevenoaks, Kent, and stayed there for the rest of his life.
Alfie's professional life concentrated on farm work in the Sevenoaks area. In the 1950s the practice looked after about 180 farms. Over the years, it distressed him to watch the changing scene of farm practice and …
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