Sadly the OS Club has been informed of the passing of Professor David Brocklesby on 20th September.
Please see below an obituary kindly provided by fellow retired veterinarian, David Weaver (W 44-48), which was written by his daughter, Helen.
David was born in Grimsby on 12 February 1929. After leaving Sedbergh School he did two years of National Service befoer studying veterinary medicine at the Royal Veterinary College, London. He had been inspired to do a veterinary degree by his great uncle Bert who was a vet in Keighley, West Yorkshire.
After graduating he held a Colonial Office studentship for a year, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which was to shape his veterinary career.
In 1955 he joined the East African Veterinary Research Organisation at Mugugua in Kenya, under the British Overseas Aid Scheme as a veterinary research officer, rising to become principal scientific officer.
In Kenya, his work mainly concerned the epidemiology and biology of Theileria parva, the causative agent of East Coast fever of cattle. This resulted in the publication of over 120 scientific papers and, after presenting a thesis on ‘Parasites of the family Theileridae off the African buffalo occurring in East Africa’, he achieved the degree of DrVetMed and was elected to membership of the Royal College of Pathologists. While studying in London, he met Jennifer Hubble, who was at medical school with his sister, Sue. They married in 1957 and Jenny joined him in Africa where they started their family: Sarah, Susan, Richard and Helen. They had a busy life in Kenya and many friendships were made while playing squash on the court he had built, playing tennis tournaments and going on trips to the coat, as well as raising an orphan giraffe called Penelope.
The family returned to the UK in 1966 and, after a short spell as head of the animal health research department of Fisions, he joined the Institute for the Research on Animal Diseases (IRAD) at Compton, Berkshire, and became head of the department of parasitology, continuing his work with tick-borne diseases. He worked primarily on haemoparasites, particularly Babesia bigemina, the cause of redwarter in cattle, and his team discovered Babesia major in British cattle.
In 1978, he left IRAD and moved with his family to Scotland, to become professor of tropical animal health and director of the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine (CTVM) at Edinburgh University. Under his stewardship, the standing of the institution as a centre of excellence in teaching and research was upheld. He worked with the Overseas Development Agency and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure funding for the centre. David continued to travel widely, maintaining collaborations with other international institutions, attending conferences and acting as a consultant and examiner. He was chairman of the council of the Royal Commonwealth Society in Scotland and a council member of the RCVS from 1985-1989.
In 1983 he was elected as a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and, in 1984, a fellow of the RCVS. At the CTVM he was known for having to have two waste paper baskets in his office which allowed him to simply extinguish the fires that he creased while lighting his pipe.
In the 1991 New Year’s Honours list, he was delighted to be appointed as a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for his outstanding contribution to veterinary research and education.
Alongside his distinguished career, David was a devoted family man, always there to support his children. He and Jenny were well known for being welcoming and generous hosts to the many friends their children brought home. They retired to the Borders in 1991, enjoying spending time with their children and nine grandchildren, walking their retriever dogs, bird-watching and following local and international rugby.
Sadly, David lost Jenny in 2012 and spent his last years at home in Paxton, where he died peacefully on 20 September 2019.