The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has announced the recipients of this year’s RCVS honours, including those who will be receiving the new Impact and Inspiration Awards.
 
The new awards were introduced last year, with the Impact Award recognising veterinary surgeons at all stages of their career who are undertaking projects and initiatives that have a discernible impact on the profession and/or animal health and welfare and the Inspiration Award recognising those inspiring others with their actions and words.
 
Jade Statt MRCVS, the founder of the StreetVet project which provides free and accessible veterinary care to homeless pet owners on the streets of London, is the recipient of the Impact Award. She was nominated by StreetVet volunteer Dr Gabriel Galea MRCVS who said: “Jade’s most substantial contribution has been to the welfare of the dogs she selflessly gives up her time and energy to treat, using resources she works hard to source. Her authoritative yet friendly, caring and non-judgemental attitude has made her a favourite with often vulnerable owners, who have grown to trust her unconditionally with their sole companions.”
 
Professor Derek Knottenbelt OBE MRCVS and Dr Ebony Escalona MRCVS are the recipients of this year’s Inspiration Awards. Professor Knottenbelt, who is Emeritus Professor in Equine Internal Medicine at the University of Liverpool and Director of Equine Medical Solutions, has been recognised for inspiring generations of veterinary students, residents and Specialists.
 
His nominator Dr Jessica Kidd MRCVS, an RCVS-recognised Specialist in Equine Surgery, said: “Derek has supervised numerous residents and influenced countless students during his time in academia. His ability to excite and inspire people in the profession is monumental, as is his philanthropic personality and innate need to help those less fortunate.”
 
Ebony was recognised for her work as a veterinary advisor at the Brooke equine charity, as the founding member of the Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify Facebook group which encourages veterinary surgeons to share their experiences and ideas, and for her involvement in the Learn Appeal Project which provides basic veterinary, farriery and husbandry knowledge to rural communities without access to internet connections.
 
Her nominator, Dr Aurelie Thomas MRCVS, said: “Ebony has done more for the veterinary community over her eight-year career than many would over 20 years. Ebony’s generosity, enthusiasm and energy for our profession seems limitless, and I believe her efforts should be encouraged and rewarded. Ebony constructively challenges the status quo for a better future and excels by using simple approaches to infuse positivity to hundreds of veterinary professionals across the globe.”
 
RCVS Senior Vice-President Chris Tufnell, in whose presidential year the two new awards were initiated, added:“I’m very pleased that this year these two new awards are showcasing such remarkable people. So many in our professions make a real difference to the lives of people and animals and we’re delighted to be able to recognise such outstanding individuals.”
 
The two recipients of this year’s International Awards are Dr Alemayehu Hailemariam, an Ethiopian veterinarian who does much of the Brooke’s clinical and educational fieldwork in that country, and Rachel Wright who trained as a veterinary nurse in the UK and founded the Tree of Life for Animals (or TOLFA) animal hospital in Rajasthan, India in 2005.
 
RCVS President Stephen May said: “Our International Awards really demonstrate that our work as veterinary health professionals does not stop at the borders of the UK and that sharing knowledge, skills, time and effort with our international colleagues improves the health and welfare of animals across the world. For example, Dr Hailemariam has trained every vet working for the Brooke in Ethiopia as well as hundreds of animal health practitioners, while the hospital that Rachel Wright founded works to eradicate rabies and educate the community on animal health and welfare while treating anything between 300 and 400 animals at any one time.”
 
The final award is the Queen’s Medal, the highest honour that the College can bestow upon a veterinary surgeon, and which recognises a distinguished career in the profession whether that be in clinical practice, academia or veterinary politics. 
 
This year’s recipient is Professor Peter Clegg FRCVS, an equine vet who is currently Head of the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease at the University of Liverpool, a multidisciplinary institute engaging in veterinary, medical and biomedical research relating to musculoskeletal biology and ophthalmology.
 
His nominator, Mandy Peffers FRCVS, said: “Professor Clegg is unique as he manages to combine a clinical career, with a recognised specialism in equine surgery, along with a successful academic research career. His research studies span clinical veterinary studies, basic biomedical sciences and human musculoskeletal biology. Within both his research and clinical careers he has been instrumental in developing and mentoring many individuals through clinical and research training schemes. In particular he has trained a considerable number of veterinary PhD students.”
 
All awards will be bestowed at RCVS Day 2018 – the College’s Annual General Meeting and awards ceremony – which takes place at the Royal Institute of British Architects on Friday 13 July. This year no nominations were received for Honorary Associateship or the Veterinary Nursing Golden Jubilee Award.