Tim Brodrick remembered

Tim Brodrick

My association and that of my family with Tim Brodrick MRCVS, local vet and unrivalled character, goes back all the way to the early 1970’s when he was so supportive of the opening of our Boarding Kennels & Cattery in Iden. He became a family friend, treating all sorts of creatures for us, ranging from chickens and parrots to donkeys and goats as well as carrying out health checks and assessments of the thousands of animals that came to us for re-homing. His was a reassuring and kindly presence, gentle and compassionate with even the most terrified and unlikely of pets we had taken in. After being his chief babysitter in my teens, I was overwhelmed to be offered out of the blue, the opportunity to work with him as a Nursing Assistant, freeing me from the dreadful tedium of the Banking industry I was involved in at the time.

Tim Brodrick

Working for Tim was marvellous. The practice had a solid farming base in those days and I often went on visits to assist with all sorts of large animal work. Afterwards we would head back to the practice and Tim, driving with one hand and waving his pipe around with the other would instruct me in the ways of the countryside. He taught me about the bird life of the Romney Marsh and from him I learned how to judge the age of hedges. How many people can boast such knowledge?

Tim would dictate his notes whilst he was driving too, using the newly invented Hand Dictaphone, but he was easily distracted by what he saw and frequently I would be typing up notes about a de-horning or a milk fever to have him interject with ‘Good Lord – was that a Lesser spotted woodpecker’ or ‘Damn Farmer XYZ – How many times have I told him to fix those fences.’ It made transcription duties very entertaining.

It was in the early eighties that we saw the emergence of a new and deadly virus affecting dogs, especially puppies. This was Parvo Virus and it was Tim Brodrick working with Glasgow University who identified a vaccine that could be effective against it, albeit unlicensed for use in canines at that time. Tim decided to hell with caution and trialled the vaccine anyway as Parvo was threatening to become a real problem in certain local areas. Such was the trust pet owners held in his expertise, hundreds of them attended the surgery over a week or so, queuing up the drive and along Cinque Ports Street to get their pets protected. Tim may well have averted a horrible epidemic by his courageous action.

On a lighter note, I have to mention the unorthodox methods Tim had for Debt collection. One Publican was delighted to welcome Tim and some of his staff to a slap up lunch until after three courses each, Tim told him he would be knocking the cost off what was owed to the surgery. Another farmer paid his debt in the form of a barrel of fermented apple juice. This stood in the drug store, having brown sugar and raisins added for several months until the resulting brew was absolutely lethal!

Tim retired from Veterinary work in the early nineties and split his time between houses in Spain and Camber, eventually returning to live in Playden with his family, close to where he had grown up. His is still a household name throughout Rye and the local area and rightly so. He was a gorgeous man with a massive and passionate heart! He will be missed!

Photo: library image

Image Credits: Philippa Parker .


  1. He will surely be missed. Very grateful for his loving care of my much loved Labrador . I will also miss the times when he popped in for a chat, never without leaving me with some gem of natural history information.
    Many condolences to his family.

  2. I’ll never forget the time he neutered one of our guinea pigs. We thought we had three females – but one turned out to be a male, and you can guess the result! He had never neutered a guinea pig at that point (in the mid 1980s), but gamely read up on the procedure and carried out the operation. I am glad to say the surgery worked, and the GP had a long life! Tim was certainly one-of-a-kind.

  3. Beautifully written Bernie dad would have loved it. I think we all did him proud on Friday and you read the Dr Doolittle piece with great courage when we were all struggling. Thank you from all of us Brodrick girls xxxx

  4. Brilliantly written and I can visualise Tim so well. Tim and family have been so kind to me over the years Including me on Christmases and lots of fantastic fun times in Spain as well as treating my animals with so much compassion.
    It was a fantastic send off for Tim and he would have been proud. Such a wonderful man.

  5. Dear Emily and sisters,

    It is with sorrow that I came upon this obituary of your dear father, Tim.
    Not only was he our vet and delivered two of the five puppies that our whippet lurcher had once, but he grew up in the house that we bought from the family in 1985, The Hooks in Playden.
    Having sold The Hooks due to personal circumstances in 1993 I moved back to Holland, where I was born. My two sons remained in England, JpMatt and a Jochem van Ast.

    I retain many good memories of Tim, his gentleness, his sense of humour, his erudition.

    Yours sincerely,


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