Colonel John Hickman began his career in veterinary medicine as an RVC graduate in 1935, joining the Royal Veterinary Corps and serving for 12 years.
Changing direction he opted for academia, becoming a reader in animal surgery at the University of Cambridge in 1952 where he remained until retirement in 1980. Colonel Hickman was the first BEVA President and played a leading role in establishing the Association from the basis of the steering committee formed in 1960.
His efforts were awarded with a honorary membership in 1965. From its inception in 1968 Colonel Hickman served as the first editor of Equine Veterinary Journal until 1975. Outside of BEVA, Colonel Hickman was a member of the Veterinary Advisory Committee of the Horserace Betting Levy Board, Deputy Chairman of the Veterinary Committee of the Fédération Equestre Internationale and RCVS Council Member.