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Roy Burns Hearne

It is with great sadness that I have to report the death on 19th June 2002 of well know Bristol vet and Afghan enthusiast Roy Hearne. Roy was very well known in Afghan circles not only in the west but all over the country. He had been our friend and vet for over 35 years, our hounds loved him without exception and he loved and respected them in return.

Born in Dagenham, Essex, in 1933, Roy grew up in London. During the war he was evacuated to Yorkshire before returning south to live with his parents again in Kent where the enjoyable experience of farm life began to prepare him for his future career.

Roy attended Sir Joseph Williamson’s school in Rochester, before leaving in 1952 to study veterinary science at Bristol University from which he graduated in 1957 and went into practice in Clifton, Bristol. During this time he acted as a server in Bristol Cathedral.

A year later he married Mary, but after 14 weeks was called up for National Service which he served in The Royal Army Veterinary Corps, rising to the rank of Captain. He was veterinary officer for the British Army on the Rhine where he developed his love for horses as well as dogs. In 1960 he returned to Clifton where he practiced in Richmond Hill and then Queens Road. In 1990 when parking became just too difficult he looked for another location and relocated to Stoke Bishop where he remained in practice until his death. So popular was he with his clients that most of them moved with him, and indeed many have been Roy’s clients for 30, or in some cases even 40 years. Never one to rush clients out, Roy would take the time to explain his diagnosis in great detail and no-one ever left the surgery with any doubt as to treatment, medication, expected response and timescale. A gentle, modest and unique man, a great raconteur, his sense of humour was second to none and we have all, at one time or another, had a good giggle with him over the latest ‘controversy’ in the doggie world!

Roy’s deepest interest was dogs. He especially loved Afghans and Greyhounds, taking a rescue Greyhound, Panda and giving her a wonderful retirement. He was appointed veterinary surgeon to Eastville Stadium until it closed in 1977. He was also on the Committee of the Afghan Hound Club of Wales where he was honorary veterinary surgeon until illness forced him to step down. Roy owned 6 Afghans over the years, Babrak, (his doggy soulmate) and Carmelle, (both of whom he hand reared from 2 hours old) James, Bronwen, Khan and Goldie, but he loved many, many more. I know for certain that he loved each and every one of our Afghans and I’m sure this goes for all his other clients too. In addition, he went into partnership with a show Afghan, Kizzy of whom he was very proud. Roy also had a great concern for transport, and interest he shared with his elder son, Francis, and he loved music especially classical pieces and organ music.

Roy’s funeral on 28th June was enormously well attended - so many people wanted to pay their respects to this hugely popular man - relatives, friends, clients, many from the world of dogs, especially Afghan owners from far and wide, all came along to mourn, but as the day progressed we came to realise that our mourning had changed into a celebration of Roy’s life. It seemed that each and every one of us had our own special anecdotes and stories to tell of times spent with Roy, be it in the surgery, at home, at shows or on the racetrack. We all have our wonderful memories of a lovely, lovely man whose passing has left such a gap in the lives of not only his loving family, but all those whose lives he touched. Roy will be an impossible act to follow, and we will all be the poorer for his passing.

Our sympathies go out to his dear wife Mary who supported his steadfastly over the years, several in ill health herself, his sons Francis and Andrew, daughter-in-law Caroline and grandchildren Jack and Katherine.

Wendy Durant