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Dawda Kairaba Jawara
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  • Published on:
    Memories of Sir Dawda Jawara by Neal King

    The obituary of Sir Dawda Jawara (VR, 21 September, 2019, vol 185, p 350) triggered vivid memories of July 1994.
    I was privileged to be the new president of the RCVS at the tail end of the celebration of our sesquicentenary of the royal charter granted in 1844. The Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) had been instrumental in promoting the regulation of the profession - presumably to protect its members from charlatanism.
    It occurred to me that to persuade the RASE to ask a vet to open the Royal Show would appropriately mark the 150 years of our common history, and that within the profession we had the longest serving Commonwealth head of state, the president of the Gambia.
    The idea fell on fertile ground and Sir Dawda came to the UK on a private visit accompanied by his wife and entourage.
    Glasgow university honoured him with a formal dinner and on the Sunday morning I was invited to his hotel to discuss the contents of his upcoming speech, finding myself ensconced on a sofa with the charming, unassuming, and very likeable president.
    On the opening day of the show a helicopter was to bring him from his hotel to the showground. Arriving 20 minutes late it disgorged not Sir Dawda, but most of his entourage before retreating to the skies to collect the President and his lady. We were by then an embarrassing 45 minutes late.
    His speech, containing nothing of my suggestions or our common history, was otherwise brilliant in its conten...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.