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Newmarket vet Donald Simpson dies

THE funeral for Donald Simpson, a long-serving veterinary surgeon to the National Stud in Newmarket, will be held on Thursday at 3pm at West Leake Church in Lecestershire.

Simpson, who died suddenly on March 1, graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1960 and began his association with the National Stud after it moved to Newmarket in 1963. During his tenure the stud was home to leading sires Blakeney, Tudor Melody and, most notably, Mill Reef.

He won acclaim for his work identifying and containing the spread of CEM [contagious equine metritis], which arrived in the UK in 1977.

Well-known Newmarket vet Richard Greenwood said: "His hard work and conscientious scientific approach was key to recognition of the causative organism [of CEM] and its control. He published original observations on the disease and, with Hugh Platt at the Animal Health Trust and Dr Taylor of Cambridge, ensured that the causative organism was quickly identified."

Simpson subsequently advised other countries on the disease and its management, and was instrumentalin establishing a code of practice, now developed in the HBLB code of practice on equine infectious diseases, which is updated and published annually for use across Europe.

He also worked closely with Professor Twink Allen on providing clinical material for the trials of prostaglandin and other drugs for the improvement of fertility, was involved with the development of ultrasound scanning for early pregnancy diagnosis, and was the first practitioner to diagnose twins in early pregnancy.

Greenwood added: "His educational work, particularly at the National Stud, was renowned. Clear, beautifully illustrated talks which imparted a thorough knowledge and wisdom benefited professional and lay audiences for many years. He was always a gentleman in every sense of the word and modest to a fault."

Simpson also had a long standing association with trainer Sir Mark Prescott, and regularly provided veterinary advice for Poonawalla Stud Farms in India and the British Bloodstock Agency.

He also owned a small stud farm, and the best horse he bred was Buzzards Bay, winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 1982 – though he was reportedly so disappointed with the price the horse fetched as a foal at auction that he gave the dam away.

Simpson leaves his wife Joan, four children and many grandchildren.





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