Mary Brancker CBE 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 in our 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 massive outbreak of Foot and Mouth in 1968. 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 Nat 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.
Those of us who were fortunate to enjoy Mary’s company through tza will always remember her for her enormous energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun. I will never forget the time when I turned my back on her for a moment and turned back to find she had disappeared. A noise under the table drew my attention and I investigated to find Mary on her hands and knees crawling after my daughter who was squealing with delight. My daughter was 1, Mary was 94.
In 2004 we helped Mary to celebrate her 90th Birthday. She enjoyed it so much that she suggested she would have another party to celebrate her 100th Birthday in 2014. Whilst, sadly, Mary will not be with us, we will be holding a celebratory event to mark this occasion.
Watch this space for further news about the Mary Brancker Memorial Lecture in August 2014.
And we’d love to hear about your memories of Mary … leave a comment below.