Honour of the highest order for island vet

Retired Mull vet Jimmy Wilson MBE.

Want to read more?

We value our content  and access to our full site is  only available with a  subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards

Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish)

Already a subscriber?


Subscribe Now

A former Mull vet featured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2020.

Jimmy Wilson received the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to veterinary practice and animal welfare on Mull.

Mr Wilson has been a vet for almost 50 years and served the island of Mull for more 30 years. Held in high regard both by the local residents and farmers whose animals he has tended, he is also well respected in veterinary circles and is a past president of the Sheep Veterinary Society.

Speaking to the Oban Times this week, Jimmy said: ‘I was very surprised at receiving the honour.

‘It was totally unexpected. Initially I thought it was a scam, terrible times we live in.

‘I am extremely proud to receive the MBE award for services to Veterinary Practice and Animal Welfare on the Isle of Mull. I also feel that the honour was not just for me alone but also for my father the late Robert Wilson and all the other single handed vets working in the Highlands and Islands.

‘I might add I was only doing my job, which I enjoyed and was lucky to practice and live on Mull.’

Having always wanted to become a vet, Jimmy moved to Mull at the age of 11 when his father, Robert, took up the position of the sole vet on the island. Jimmy was often seen with his father on his rounds on farms and on private visits.

After qualifying from Glasgow University Veterinary College in 1973 and qualified in November 1973, Jimmy and his young family moved to Tiree where he was the sole vet.

In 1980, due to family health reasons, Jimmy and his family moved to Chorley in Lancashire where he worked in a small animal practice. His first love, however, was always large animals and he came back to Dunoon to a mixed practice in 1984.

He made a decision to come back to work on Mull in 1986 and worked as a locum on Skye and North and South Uist as the practice on Mull was not able to support more than one vet at a time. Jimmy took over the practice from his father in 1991 and ran it single handed until 2013.

After building a new surgery at Fishnish in 1992 Jimmy began to fulfill his ambition to raise the awareness on the island of animal welfare through the Farmer’s Union and the British Sheep Veterinary Society with whom he strove to raise the standards of veterinary treatment.

He became President of the British Sheep Veterinary Society in 2014/2015. In this role he visited the various sheep meetings throughout the United Kingdom. He was well known for his support of the lifestyle on Mull and it was through him that the island became a very familiar place to many people worldwide.

Jimmy’s involvement in the Highland and Islands Veterinary Service led to him becoming the veterinary practitioner representative when there were negotiations with the government to raise the funds for the Scheme.

Following years of high profile lobbying Jimmy became known as the ‘The Grandfather of the H.I.V.S.S.’

Jimmy was joined in 2013 by a young veterinary surgeon, Theresa Wade, who was from Mull and who wanted to take over the practice from Jimmy on his eventual retirement. He retired at the end of June 2014 after 54 years of Wilson veterinary surgeons on the island.

He continued to be involved in veterinary work at a national level in Scotland as a director with Vet Trust, a director with Livestock Health Scotland and with the Scottish Government schemes which all involved promoting high health and welfare in farm animals in Scotland.

Jimmy came out of retirement in October 2015 when Theresa was tragically killed in a road accident on Mull. In the face of such a tragedy he took it upon himself to keep up the morale of the islanders where veterinary matters were concerned and only fully retired from the practice in 2017. He and his wife Anne and son Robert moved to Troon in 2019.

The awards were announced last Friday (October 9) having been delayed from HM The Queen’s Birthday in June as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also included was former Bute resident and Rothesay Academy pupil Brian McIntyre was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the British Consulate-General in New York.

Five individuals within Police Scotland were recognised for exceptional and outstanding public service, including Hazel Hendren, former Divisional Commander for West Dunbartonshire and Argyll.