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Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick on fame failure – and why he named his dog after Keira Knightley

Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick on fame, failure – and why he named his dog after Keira Knightley

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick with Jersey, a cat recovering from a total hip replacement on his only remaining hind leg

Supervet is giving me the sort of bone-crunching, sternum-splintering hug that he dispenses on television every week.

It is wholehearted, uncompromising and almost unnervingly sincere. I confess to him that I wondered if his hugs were just an (admittedly convincing) telly device.

Supervet, otherwise known as ProfessorNoel Fitzpatrick or thebionic vet, or that mad Irishman who bothers to put tiny prosthetic limbs onto pet rabbits looks ever so slightly disappointed in me.

Im a natural hugger, but I have never come across a journalist that accurately reflected who I am and what Im about, he sighs. I want to see headlines of hope, not cynicism and despair. Every time I see the way a person looks at their dog and the way that dog looks back, I see pure, unconditional love.

Im trying to bottle that and give it to a world full of idiots who think the money, ego, power and greed are what matters.

Gosh. Not a sentiment youll have ever heard passingJames Herriots lips. But times have changed: as there are few things more compelling than passion, I shouldnt be surprised if all his clients, furry and human alike, arent entirely in thrall to Prof Fitzpatrick, 48.

Tall, handsome, fit as a butchers dog with a Celtic swathe of black hair, the sheer force of his energetic, evangelistic Bono-meets-Geldof personality sweeps all before him.

Frankly, Im in disarray after just few minutes, during which time he quotes Irish political poet Patrick Pearse, summons up the indomitable spirits of Freddie Mercury and Dylan Thomas, and tells me he has named his Norfolk terrierKeira after Keira Knightley.

If I werent a work-obsessed freak and single by choice, she would be my ideal woman, he says mournfully. But I was up until 4.30am operating last night, and shes gone off and married a rock star.

Keiras loss, Id say, because Prof Fitzpatrick is arguably the rock star of the veterinary profession, even if his single-minded dedication means that he often sleeps in a windowless box room off the office in his Surrey orthopaedic hospital, Fitzpatrick Referrals.

I do have a house, he says. I just dont have the time to go there very often and, besides, its mortgaged to the hilt. If I stay at the clinic, then Im on hand 24/7; I like to stay on top of things because I love, love, love what I do.

Love is a big thing for Prof Fitzpatrick, a farmers boy from County Laois, world-class orthopaedic-neuro veterinary surgeon who also happens to be 24-carat TV gold.

Yes, hes a technical whizz who can design the sort of Heath Robinson contraptions that transform injured pets back into wagging worktop-surfers.

But it is his trademark kindness, his heartfelt compassion undimmed by many years inpractice, that makes three million of us tune in every week.

Im feeling a bit vulnerable, a bit raw today, he says. I just had to put a dog down, outside in the garden. I always do that, unless its raining, so the animals last few seconds are spent in sunshine and grass.

Call me a softie, but that alone sums up the man and his philosophy. With the owners permission, the cameras are usually watching.

Its important to be respectful but also to show death, failure. Im not a miracle worker, he says. The majority of those who come to see him might well disagree.

As the name of his hospital suggests,Fitzpatrick Referralsin Eashing, just outside Godalming, Surrey, is a last-chance saloon for pets whose broken bones cannot be treated at a standard vets. He also has a specialist oncology unit in Guildford.

I do my very best for every animal that comes through those doors, he says. The value of companion animals is incalculable to us as a species. They dont judge us, they trust us, they bring out the humanity in us. I dont do this for fame or applause.

Hes not dissembling. The reason he has squeezed in an interview withThe Telegraphisnt to talk about his brilliant television career (Supervet is in its seventh series), or to advertise his road shows, but to bang the drum for his charity, theHumanimal Trust.

Its a campaigning body that aims to overcome artificial boundaries between human and animal medicine.

Sharing research and discoveries will enable clinical trials in one discipline to be used by or at the very least to inform the other.

One medicine for all is a co-operative, compassionate, common-sense approach that will dramatically reduce the number of animals used in testing and allow life-enhancing innovations and drugs to reach humans faster.

To this end, hes stagingOne Live, a music festival in Guildford, to raise funds and awareness. The line up includes incontrovertibly hip bands such as Starsailor, Reef, The Feeling and Scouting for Girls.

Its about time someone made medicine sexy! he exclaims. But first things first.

When we meet, he is preparing to go forsurgery on his ankle. Rather than simply clearing his diary, he has just crammed six weeks worth of operations into several days; hence the 4.30 am finish.

His personal assistant confides that initially the Professor wanted to conduct the surgery himself, anaesthetised from the waist down, but apparently its illegal.

Instead, he had a 3D model made of his joint which he will manipulate, mirroring the surgeon (God give him strength) as he tries to gets on with his job.

Im the worst sort of patient, cries Prof Fitzpatrick. Im entirely non-compliant because I think I know best. A human joint isnt significantly different from an animal joint.

But the professor is significantly different from a greatmany other vets.He wears his heart on his sleeve for a start; he kisses his charges on the head, accepts face-lickings with delight and gets tearful with emotion.

He also remembers not just the name of the animal (which is more than a lot of people get in the NHS) but the owners name, the name of the owners spouse and those of their children.

Of course, his clinic charges thousands for many treatments. Sometimes, the fees are covered by pet insurance policies, surprisingly often they are not. But talk of money makes him visibly exasperated.

I hate speaking about it and we try not to mention it too often on the programme because its just a depressing distraction, he says with a deep sigh. I get such terrible hate mail if Itreat an particular animal for free like Spud, a homeless mans dog because its deemed to be unfairly discriminatory.

But if I carry out some very complicated procedure and charge a commensurate amount because the prosthetic cost 150,000 to develop, have a staff of 211 people to pay and Im several million pounds in debt, Im castigated for that, too.

Its never the owners who complain, just the audience at home. But even in this regard Prof Fitzpatrick is at pains to take a generous view.

People get so het up because theyemotionally invest in pets their own and other peoples and they care, he says with an air of resignation. Thats a good thing.

He declines to give specifics but says that its not unusual for owners to pay over 10,000 for treatment.

Im feeling a bit vulnerable, a bit raw today. I just had to put a dog down, outside in the garden. I always do that, unless its raining, so the animals last few seconds are spent in sunshine and grass

It comes down to choice. Some owners cant afford the more extensive,state-of-the-art treatment, some can. Theres nothing immoral about them choosing accordingly, he says. I advise all my clients of the options available, but I will also tell them outright if I feel it would bewrong to try and prolong the life and therefore the suffering of an animal.

Before television found him, Prof Fitzpatrick spent two decades writing scientific papers nobody read because they were f—— boring. He concluded, quite correctly, that people are only interested in science that is demonstrably relevant to their lives.

Television gives him a platform to convey the theoretical in practice and showcase his pioneering techniques of spinal implants, skilfully engineered flanges, screws and internal speed bumps to take the pressure off joints.

It also lends him a public profile he is harnessing for the Humanimal Trust.

I want to make love the global currency, he says. It only sounds silly because its such a radical, revolutionary idea, but I have real faith that this is the future.

Faith, hope, charity and a charismatically zealous Irishman at the helm? Its been a winning formula before. How tremendous to think it could be again.

The One Live festival, in aid of theHumanimal Trust, is on Saturday 4 June at Loseley Park, Guildford .uk). Prof. Noel Fitzpatrick will also be hosting Dog Fest ( in Cheshire on 18-19 June, and Windsor on 25-26 June

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Noel Gifts Intl Change – Announcement of Cessation RESIGNATION OF INDEPENDENT NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Noel Gifts Intl: Change – Announcement of Cessation :: RESIGNATION OF INDEPENDENT NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR(SGXNet / 27 Oct 2017 17:24)

Noel Gifts Intl: General Announcement :: Resolutions Passed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 27 October 2017(SGXNet / 27 Oct 2017 17:15)

Noel Gifts Intl: Cash Dividend/ Distribution(SGXNet / 11 Oct 2017 18:34)

Noel Gifts Intl: Cash Dividend/ Distribution(SGXNet / 11 Oct 2017 18:31)

Noel Gifts Intl: Annual General Meeting(SGXNet / 11 Oct 2017 18:04)

Noel Gifts Intl: Annual Reports and Related Documents(SGXNet / 11 Oct 2017 18:03)

Noel Gifts Intl: Change – Announcement of Cessation :: RESIGNATION OF INDEPENDENT NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR



Description (Please provide a detailed description of the event in the box below)

Resignation of Mr Freddie Heng Kim Chuan as the Non-Executive Independent Director of Noel Gifts International Ltd. Following his resignation, Mr Heng will also cease to serve as a Member of Audit Committee, Nominating Committee and Remuneration Committee.

Is effective date of cessation known?

To facilitate the renewal of the Board of Directors pursuant to the corporate governance principles and also to support the Board of Directors plan to refresh and rejuvenate the board composition. The Board of Directors and the Management of Noel Group would like to record their sincere appreciation and thanks to Mr Heng for his invaluable contributions to the Companys development over the past 24 years and wish him well for his future.

Are there any unresolved differences in opinion on material matters between the person and the board of directors, including matters which would have a material impact on the group or its financial reporting?

Is there any matter in relation to the cessation that needs to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the listed issuer?

Any other relevant information to be provided to shareholders of the listed issuer?

Date of Appointment to current position

Does the AC have a minimum of 3 members (taking into account this cessation)?

Number of Independent Directors currently resident in Singapore (taking into account this cessation)

Number of cessations of appointments specified in Listing Rule 704 (7) or Catalist Rule 704 (6) over the past 12 months

Job Title (e.g. Lead ID, AC Chairman, AC Member etc.)

Non-executive Independent Director and a Member of Audit Committee, Nominating Committee and Remuneration Committee.

Familial relationship with any director and/ or substantial shareholder of the listed issuer or of any of its principal subsidiaries

Shareholding interest in the listed issuer and its subsidiaries?

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