Professor Graham Harvey

Non-vet at vets' college
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The Independent Online

Generations of veterinary surgeons who studied at the Royal Veterinary College, London, benefited from the tutelage of Graham Harvey. He was a fine example of a type of academic not so often seen nowadays: not only did he teach, he participated fully in college life - for many years he was an active president of the RVC Rugby Football Club - and was a sympathetic mentor to his students. His popularity was more notable as he was not himself a vet and his subjects, Biochemistry and Chemical Pathology, were not among the most popular options for study.

Harvey's association with the college began in 1939, but was interrupted by Second World War service within months. He joined up as a private but was soon commissioned and sent to the Chemical Defence Research Establishment, Porton Down. He spent most of the war as a Technical Officer (Chemical Warfare) in the Mediterranean theatre of operations. He endured, and in fact said he enjoyed, a year in Malta during the days when it was under siege and bombardment. He disclosed few details of his service life but was demobbed with the rank of major and appointment as MBE.

Returning to the RVC in 1945, he remained as a lecturer for five years - "five happy years"- before moving to the Medical Research Council in 1949. Appointed head of the laboratories of the Department for Research in Industrial Medicine, he was mainly involved in toxicological studies on herbicides and pesticides. However, he missed the college environment and in 1955 took the opportunity to return to the RVC as Reader in Chemical Pathology. He remained there until he retired in 1979, teaching, publishing research papers (which mainly concerned liver function) and chairing the editorial board of Research in Veterinary Science, the British Veterinary Association's scientific journal. He was appointed to the chair of chemical pathology in 1978; this was far later in his career than was warranted by his abilities and experience.

Graham Harvey's long association with the veterinary profession, and the value of his contributions to research, brought him recognition in the form of honorary membership of the BVA and the Blaine Award from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.

On his retirement, and appointment as Professor Emeritus, a whole new life opened up. Harvey and his wife Barbara moved to Selsey in Sussex, location of many happy family holidays. They enjoyed sailing, keeping a boat at Chichester, and discovered an enthusiasm for drawing and painting. This led to the formation of the Selsey Art Society, of which Graham Harvey became President.

Edward Boden