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Tribute to Bob Michell

For more than seven years I had the privilege to work with Bob Michell, an advocate for our profession, and it was both a pleasure and an honour. His wit was incomparable, his writing was dazzling and fearless, and his intelligence was matched by compassion — he was a one-off.

Much is known and written about the extensive good work he did at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, however, what I will miss the most is the man behind the impeccable reputation. Bob was a man with a magnificent and fierce spirit of independence and a man with no frills, no fuss — just pure professionalism.

Bob was as generous with his smile and warm personality as he was with his time and selfless attitude. He was thoughtful, careful and considerate and for this he was respected and admired. He was fearless in the pursuit of truth and any cause in which he believed and there was no belief he held that he did not advocate with passion, commitment and brilliance. He was an extraordinary, compelling and colourful person which meant that no matter how mundane, serious, or long the subject matter, Bob made meetings fun. He was a true visionary and always stood up for one’s own individuality — this resonated with me personally. His charming delivery and razor sharp wit was purely masterful — with his magnificently eloquent savagery he could turn an argument on its head leaving no worthy retort.

When he retired, we kept in touch and I was always happy to see that in his senectitude he never lost his joy, mischievous edge and penchant for wit and bonhomie. I would often pass ideas by him and would listen intently to the wisdom that would be generated in return. He would also pass on a huge and diverse array of musings, whether it was around the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture, or the treatment of hypertension in dogs, in his own inimitable way.

I will miss Bob but I will always remember his strength of character, his fearlessness, and his voice. He demanded to be heard, a lot of people heard him and they resonated with what he was saying. I’m really sad that he will no longer be heard.

A great voice falls silent but the legend lives on.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202247

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