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IN tribute to Neville Stapleton Kiernan (VR, May 16, 2015, vol 176, p 526) Austin Kirwan writes: By the complex overlapping of lives I had the privilege of working with Neville Kiernan as he entered the twilight of his career; in contrast, mine was just beginning and I would benefit from his experience and counsel. Neville was born two months before my own father in 1927, so I had some understanding of that generation. Maybe that is why we worked so well; indeed he became a father figure of the practice I had just purchased and a valued mentor to me.
Neville was born in Manchester and attended Altrincham Grammar School where he was inspired in the sciences and mathematics by eccentric masters to progress to Liverpool university. This was not an easy task for him as he was not a natural academic, but his talent for a practical approach was recognised. In those days there was competition with ex-servicemen for veterinary school places; Neville had not been allowed to serve due to health reasons. Graduation with a diploma in 1953 allowed registration with the RCVS. Back then there was no need for a degree and the profession was just finding its feet in postwar Britain, good-quality food was required by the nation and the veterinary surgeon was pivotal in this, as we are today. Neville could still recall lectures and practical sessions he had experienced while studying and …