2022 Barrie Edwards Memorial Lecture

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Professor Paul Lunn
Professor Paul Lunn

Following on from the success of the 2021 Barrie Edwards Memorial Lecture, the fifth Barrie Edwards Memorial Lecture took place in April 2022. The Association launched these lectures in 2017 in memory of Barrie Edwards (BVSc 1961), and to celebrate the varied career paths our wonderful alumni have taken after Vet School.

After graduation Barrie joined the staff at Liverpool as a senior demonstrator and became a lecturer two years later. In 1970, he headed to the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), where he worked to develop equine surgical colic skills. In 1987, Barrie returned to Liverpool as Professor of Equine Studies, where he continued to be at the forefront of developing surgical techniques to save horses with colic.  Barrie was known to many as “Prof” and was a gifted surgeon, scientist and teacher.

Barrie sadly died in 2011. As well as his surgical skills, he is remembered for his sense of humour, his drawing skills, and his kindness. Alumni often share their favourite memories of Barrie, shared the following: “I remember Barrie from my final year at Leahurst in 1963 when he was assistant to Prof Wright. Every horse was anaesthetised with IV chloral hydrate and it was Barrie’s job to ‘go down with the head’ & prevent any flexion of the neck at all costs. We all gave him every encouragement as he flew through the air like a super rugby tackle!”

Earlier this year Professor Paul Lunn (BVSc 1982) was appointed Dean of the School of Veterinary Science and it was a pleasure to invite Paul to deliver the 2022 Barrie Edwards Memorial Lecture. Paul’s talk was entitled “There and back again, a vet school life on both sides of the pond”. After early years in practice in the UK and a PhD from Cambridge, Paul followed a career in veterinary academia to the US. Whilst there he served as Dean of the North Carolina College of Veterinary Medicine, and President of both the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians and the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges.

Paul spoke about his time at vet school in Liverpool including living on Arundel Avenue and the influence of lecturers like Professor Tony King and Professor Don Kelly. He also told us a fabulous story from his early days in practice when a building fell on a cow*! Paul discussed his experiences from working in the US, the successful transition from student to early career vet is a challenge common to both the UK and the US. We need to support our students and give them a sense of community on which to model the rest of their career. Since his appointment Paul has wasted no time and renovation works are already underway at Leahurst House and the Equine Practice (Sandstone Cottage). We look forward to seeing what’s next for our vet school under Paul’s leadership.

Throughout Paul’s research career he has focused on equine immunity and the development and improvement of vaccines for equine infectious diseases, and we think Barrie would have appreciated this.

The Barrie Edwards Memorial Fund was set up in memory of Barrie to fund clinical research and projects. Barrie was always immensely proud when research projects undertaken at the equine hospital were presented and published. This fund aims to support ongoing colic research and keep the ethos of Barrie’s life and work alive.

The 2023 Barrie Edwards Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Sean Wensley (BVSc 2003) on Saturday 4 March 2023 ahead of a Veterinary Alumni Ball. Tickets are now on sale for this event, click here to book your place.

*The cow also lived to tell the tale!