Martin Weaver was born into a veterinary family, his father, Professor David Weaver, being formerly an eminent farm animal clinician at Glasgow University Veterinary School. Having a German mother, Martin was bilingual and studied and worked in the Germany as well as in the U.K. and Ireland. His veterinary career of 26 years was almost entirely devoted to large animal imaging and surgery and he had published and lectured widely on the subject.
He spent two years working in general practice; with Sinclair and Wight in Thirsk, North Yorkshire (the practice of Alf Wight, also known as James Herriot) and in Dunoon, Scotland.
In 1988 he took up a post as intern in bovine surgery in the Surgery Department in the Veterinary Faculty of the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, and in 1990 was awarded the German doctoral degree Dr.med.vet. with the highest distinction cum laude for his thesis 'Distal limb angiography in cattle'.
This was followed by an internship in equine surgery and imaging in a well-known private equine practice, Tierklinik Hochmoor, Germany. In 1991 he moved to the University of Cambridge Veterinary School, U.K. as a Resident in Equine Diagnostic Imaging, funded by a scholarship from the Horserace Betting Levy Board, where he completed one of the first residency programmes in large animal imaging in Europe.
During this time he passed the Certificate (1991) and then the Diploma of Veterinary Radiology (1993) of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK. From 1994 until 1997 he worked as a research assistant in the Department of Farm Animal and Equine Medicine and Surgery at the Royal Veterinary College, London, and was awarded a Ph.D. from the R.V.C. in 2001 for his thesis 'An investigation of navicular fibrocartilage, hyaline cartilage, flexor tendon and bone density in equine navicular disease'.
From 1997 until 2001 he was a University Lecturer in Large Animal Surgery, University College Dublin, Ireland, where he continued his keen interest in large animal diagnostic imaging, and from 2002 onwards he was Senior Lecturer in Equine Surgery and Orthopaedics at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, where he continued working until a few days before his untimely death from cancer.
Martin's extensive experience in large animal imaging was recognised in 2011 when, together with Dr. Sue Dyson of the Animal Health Trust and Dr. Jean-Marie Denoix of Cirale (Imaging Centre and Research on Equine Locomotor Affections of the French National Veterinary School of Alfort) he was invited by the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging to become one of the first three Associates of the College. The expertise of these three individuals was invaluable in the setting up of a large animal track imaging residency programme and examination. Martin had also been one of the first equine clinicians to show great enthusiasm for the concept of large animal biased imaging speciality by approaching the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK with a request for a large animal imaging option for the RCVS Diploma in Veterinary Radiology in 2008.
The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies subsequently became one of the first institutions to establish a large animal track imaging residency of the ECVDI. Martin's enthusiasm for the subject was underlined by his other activities in the subject, including acting as an examiner for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, being treasurer of the European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging and lecturing on large imaging for CPD courses in a number of centres.
Martin had a very kind, mellow personality and a great sense of humour. He loved teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students and obtained the highest student teaching appraisals, including for his regular voluntary tutorials after normal working hours with final year students. He was treasurer of the Dick Vet Students' very successful Exmoor Pony Trekking Society, helping enormously with its administration and financial stability for many years.
Martin's talent as a teacher was also due to his great ability as a story teller. He never tired of telling his famous "gorilla story". When working in University College Dublin, he had to treat a gorilla in Dublin Zoo – first needing to anaesthetise it with drugs fired from an anaesthetic dart rifle. However, while he was aiming the rifle though the bars of the cage, the gorilla suddenly shot across the cage and pulled the rifle out of Martin's hands – after an anxious pause, the gorilla then bent the rifle in two and handed it back to a partly grateful Martin.
In addition to his undergraduate teaching, Martin was also very supportive of younger staff members and ran imaging and surgery rounds for them in the morning before normal working hours.
Martin had many outside interests including hillwalking in his beloved Scotland and on the continent, and latterly sea kayaking. He sang in the Heriot Watt University Choir and was deeply involved in contemporary literature, spending holidays at book festivals.
Martin's colleagues and present and former students will always remember his great contributions to the various veterinary schools in which he worked, especially his absolutely outstanding teaching. His friendship, serenity and loyalty will be greatly missed.
The packed congregation at Martin's funeral service on 8th October 2012 included his colleagues and friends from Germany, Ireland as well as the UK, and all were privileged to hear renditions by the Heriot Watt Choir.
Sincere condolences are given by ECVDI and EAVDI to Martin's wife Jane, his parents David and Ruth, siblings Christoph and Annette, and their families.
Ruth Dennis, Paddy Dixon, Nuria Corso and Tobias Schwarz.
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