A distinguished veterinary surgeon from Northern Ireland has been chosen as the first ever recipient of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Queen’s Medal, which recognises an outstanding contribution to the veterinary profession.

Des Thompson OBE, from Belfast, received two separate nominations for the award – one from John Michael Hill MRCVS, Chairman of Veterinary Northern Ireland, and the other from Anna Mary Judson MRCVS, a council member of the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS).

Speaking of receiving the award, Mr Thompson commented: “To say I was surprised to hear that I had won the Queen’s Medal would be the understatement of the year.  I am humbled and honoured that my colleagues should consider me worthy of this prestigious award.”

Both nominations cite Mr Thompson’s decades of dedication to the profession which has seen him serve as President of the RCVS, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, SPVS and the Northern Ireland Veterinary Association, among other organisations. In addition, he has been chairman of Veterinary Northern Ireland, a trustee of the RCVS Trust (now RCVS Knowledge) and a council member of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe.

Furthermore, the nominations also cite his willingness to help other members of the profession, particularly young graduates at the start of their career, through organisations such as the Young Vet Network in Northern Ireland, for which he serves as a committee member, and the Veterinary Benevolent Fund.

Colonel Neil Smith, President of the RCVS, comments: “I am extremely pleased to announce Des Thompson as the first recipient of this very prestigious award. What is clear from both of his nominations is the respect and admiration that the veterinary community in Northern Ireland, and beyond, has for him, and his commitment to representing the interests of the profession, as demonstrated by his prodigious number of past-presidencies as well as the number of professional awards he has to his name!

“However, Des’s achievements are also reflected in his wisdom, his kindness and his willingness to support members of the profession from all walks of life.”

The Queen’s Medal will be officially bestowed upon Des Thompson by the President at RCVS Day – the Annual General Meeting of the RCVS – on Friday 11 July 2014.