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IN tribute to Christopher Geard Schermbrucker (VR, February 4, 2017, vol 180, p 123), his friend and colleague Anthony Garland writes: Chris Schermbrucker was born in 1935 at Eldoret in the north of the newly established colony of Kenya where his mother was a nurse and his father a lawyer. Together with his younger brother, Bill, he attended St Mary's School in Nairobi as a boarder. Among memories of school days he recalled reading under the bedcovers by the light of a jam jar full of captured fireflies, an early example of his lifelong passion for the natural world.
The family moved south to Nairobi as Second World War hostilities threatened from countries to the north. Tragically, Chris's mother died in 1950 when he was 15. His father married again in 1953 to a widow who had a two-year-old son, Geoffrey, and, in 1955, his half-brother, John, joined the family.
In 1951 Chris began his university studies at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, in the Faculty of Medicine. He later changed to study pure sciences at the University of Cape Town, but by 1954 his passion for, and empathy with, animals had led him to his true vocation and he travelled to Britain to study at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College in Edinburgh, qualifying in 1961. While at the Dick he met his future wife, Ann, a fellow veterinary student.
On graduating he entered mixed practice in Garstang, Lancashire. However, while he had many happy memories of this period, he was inclined towards research and had always nurtured an ambition to work in Africa. To these ends, four years later he returned to …