Friends and former colleagues of Mary Brancker CBE, one of the most influential vets of the 20th Century, met at Twycross Zoo on Sunday 17th August to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth. The event was organised by tza, an independent wildlife and conservation society, who also rededicated the Mary Brancker Waterways at the zoo. The rededication was carried out by former Chairman of tza and former Chairman of Trustees at Twycross Zoo, Ivan Ellis.
Mary Brancker became the first female President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) in 1967. As a practitioner she was at the forefront of her profession’s interest in zoo animals, fish and invertebrates. She was a long time member, and President, of tza and took a full and active role at events and activities right up until her death at the age of 95 in 2010.
Mary was awarded an OBE in 1969 in recognition of her work as BVA President in the 1968 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease. She received a CBE in 2000 for services to animal health and welfare.
Her practice was based in Sutton Coldfield and it was here that she met Twycross Zoo founders Molly Badham MBE and Nathalie Evans. Her friendship and partnership with Molly and Nathalie allowed Mary to become a pioneer in the care and treatment of zoo animals and allowed Twycross Zoo to become a leader in the field of animal welfare.
Mary will be remembered most of all for her uncompromising attitude to animal welfare, consummate professionalism and for her enquiring mind, boundless energy and inexhaustible sense of fun.