The director and president of the Veterinary Benevolent Fund (VBF) has retired after serving the maximum nine years as a trustee and member of the board.

The VBF board has “gratefully acknowledged” Lydia Brown‘s “tireless efforts” on behalf of the veterinary charity, which provides confidential help and support for vets and their dependants in times of need.

At a lunch preceeding the VBF’s annual meeting, honorary secretary John Moffitt paid tribute and thanked Dr Brown for guiding VBF during the past six years, a time that has seen increasing demands for support to be given to members of the veterinary profession, veterinary students and their families. Thanks were also given to Lydia’s husband Stephen for his support to her. Both were given gifts.

Dr Brown became a director of the VBF following the merger of the fund with the Vet Helpline and the Veterinary Surgeons’ Health Support Programme (VSHSP) in January 2005. A past-president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and former chairman of the RCVS Trust, she was a “driving force” behind the establishment of the VSHSP in 1999, a support programme developed in response to a need for a confidential service to treat veterinary surgeons with a wide variety of addictive conditions. Since then, Dr Brown has been involved in the expansion of the helpline service from a telephone service to an increasingly used email service.

VBF wished Dr Brown well in her forthcoming “so-called retirement”, it said, but is delighted she will continue to be available to support the different sections of the charity.

In responding, Dr Brown thanked all members of the VBF, especially the directors and council members, for the “time and energy” given to helping the charity’s beneficiaries. Dr Brown also gave special thanks to Vanessa Kearns, the VBF administrator, and to Derek Thorpe, secretary to the VBF board for their hard work during her presidency.

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