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IN tribute to John Michael Webster (VR, June 23, 2012, vol 170, p 651), Tom Webster writes: My father was always known as Michael to distinguish him from his father (a policeman, also named John). He was born in Wirksworth, Derbyshire in 1938. From an early age he showed great interest in the native fauna and flora, an astounding knowledge of which he built up throughout his life. The family moved around Derbyshire and Leicestershire, with a brief stint in Cyprus, following his father's career (who ultimately became Assistant Chief Constable of Leicestershire). He did well in his 11-plus exams and attended Derby Grammar School. Throughout his childhood and teenage years, he spent many happy holidays working on local farms, and this is probably where he developed his interest in livestock and a penchant for hard physical work.
Michael strongly considered a job with the Forestry Commission, but chose instead to pursue a veterinary career and attended the Royal Veterinary College (RVC). He enjoyed student life and got into playing bridge, which he excelled at. However, when this started to affect his exams he stopped playing, and he never touched playing cards again.
Also while a student he obtained his pilot's license with Leicestershire Aero Club, flying solo after only three hours and 45 minutes' instruction; possibly a national record at the time.
His first job was as the third vet with Shorter and Macintosh MsRCVS (for a wage of £5 a day plus expenses) in Stowmarket, Suffolk. He arrived in carnival week in July 1964, with little more than his red Mini. Farmers were amazed as he unfolded his enormous 6' 5” frame from the tiny car. He enjoyed many …
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