From an interview with Carl Boyde M.R.C.V.S first published in “The Lyne & Longcross Parish Magazine” April-May 2012 issue, by Chris Christodoulou.

I was born 23rd November 1929 in Charing Cross Hospital Carl Boydeto parents in the medical profession. My father bought his own Doctor’s Practice in 1934 and list of patients, as was the case prior to the introduction of the NHS, and we moved to West Ham. We went on to live in Felstead in Essex during the War.

Like many folk I found I loved animals, having owned a few of my own, cats, dogs and budgerigars and felt my future lay in this area.

I attended Braintree County High School and achieved Matriculation and Higher School Certificates. I studied Veterinary Science at the Royal Veterinary College London from 1947 to 1951 and graduated that year with a MRCVS diploma My father sadly died in 1952.

I entered into practice with Willett and Chaplin in Staines High Street. A replacement vet had been
required in view of Ms Chaplin’s temporary illness. I was recommended to the Surgery in 1951 and went on to become one of the partners and we became known as Willett. Chaplin and Boyde.

We served many pig farms in the area as there were many in the days of swill feeding. Mr Willett was also the appointed vet to George VI and would make the occasional visit to Windsor to carry out his duties on small animals when the price for a visit would have been 10/6d for Windsor Castle and 7/6d for the Royal Lodge.

I went on to become Senior Partner in the practice until 1999 during which time we diversified and even treated many circus animals with Gerry Cottle’s wintering quarters being on Woburn Hill and the practice was then Boyde and Partners at which time I went into semi-retirement.

In 1964 I purchased Hardwick Court Farm, a property with a degree of history, since the ‘Court’ referred to the fact that the Manor Courts were held in the Tythe Barn each year during the Whitsun period. The Barn had been built originally in 1446 and the farm was sold in 1828 by the Crown who had owned it since the dissolution of the Monasteries/Abbeys as all the land around it had belonged to Chertsey Abbey.

In 1940, the Farm suffered a hit from bombs being dumped possibly on a return from Vickers. Part of the front of the building was damaged with one young lady having to be brought down from her upstairs bedroom by a local farmer with a ladder. The Tythe Barn also suffered but not too seriously. From 1964 at Hardwick Court I specialised in farming, working horses, cattle, sheep and pigs.

From 2001 I have been semi-retired but still practising with various consultancies including
film work. My past and current activities include…

Senior Veterinary Inspector – Annual Easter Harness Horse Parade, Battersea Park….
Chairman of Chertsey Agricultural Association…
President of Southern Counties Heavy Horse Association…
Chairman of World Association for Transport Animal Welfare and Studies (TAWS) …
Veterinary Surgeon, Ascot Race Course..
President of Central Veterinary Society..
President of British Percheron Horse society..
Member of the Joint animal welfare group for Kent, Surrey and Sussex for 10 years (DEFRA)…
Trustee in the Rescuing of Hunting Dogs (GIN) in Spain..
Trustee to the Society of Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA), working in North Africa, Middle East and Mauritania, also 33 years experience at Crufts.

I married Pamela in 1955 (who had worked at Willett and Chaplin in Staines) and we went on to have four children: Elizabeth, Christopher, Margaret (Moggie) and Philip. We have 3 grandchildren.

In 2000 I received the Award of Honour for having rendered outstanding service to Agriculture in the County of Surrey and in 1990 the Duke of Edinburgh Award in recognition of outstanding service to the Award scheme for Young People.

My favourite leisure activity is sailing and exploration -I have a Yacht Masters certificate and know most of the Greek Islands well.

Carl Boyde – March 2012

RANI THE ELEPHANT. The story of one of my favourite animals

I had a call one day from Gerry Cottle (The circus Owner) to say one of his elephants had collapsed in their wintering quarters and would I visit.

I knew little about elephants and visited and administered a multi-vitamin injection containing glucose which did help.

I had an ex-colleague who was a Veterinary Surgeon at London Zoo and I was able to get further information which did the trick. It seemed Rani was under stress from being bullied by the other three elephants held there.

Gerry Cottle ended up going to Iran to perform for the Shah. With the disappearance of the Shah, the Ayetollah Khomenai decreed that there were no further payments made to the circus and when Mr Cottle returned he was broke and was in the process of selling up. The three other elephants he could sell, but Rani in view of her frail constitution, he could not. He asked me if I would take her on for a short while, which after some consideration I did and she was duly administered plenty of TLC at Hardwick Court Farm.

While in our care and in order to help pay for her keep we would take her out on publicity ‘assignments’. She was very social and quite enjoyed it all.

One particular record company wanted her on their record promotion advertisement and we duly took her to London. We visited a couple of places for the record publicity including the Daily Express Building. The people there were quite intrigued by her appearance and several photos were taken. However, the police became involved having spotted her and we were taken to the local police station next to the Old Bailey. The Inspector finally saw the funny side of it and we then moved on to Wimbledon where she was paraded in front of the folks queuing for tennis and then home. I had taken her in a large heavy horse box and all in all we had been out all day. She had certainty given London a sight for sore eyes to see her walking down Fleet Street and other public places. We took her to many events in places like Devon and Lichfield with a jazz band in attendance. All in all she experienced another side of life.

She moved back to Cottle’s Circus around a year later. She was eventually sold to a Spanish circus and succumbed, I heard, sadly, later to a bout of salmonella.

A lovely lady I was proud to have known

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