Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, President of the Animal Health Trust (AHT) visited the charity on Thursday 28 March at its site near Newmarket, to thank the teams involved in managing the recent equine influenza outbreaks and officially open the new head office building, The Wooldridge Building.
Her Royal Highness was accompanied by the Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare Countess of Euston, and hosted at Lanwades Park by the Animal Health Trust’s Chief Executive Dr. Mark Vaudin and Trustees.
The Princess met some of the vets and scientists from the charity’s Diagnostic Laboratory Services, epidemiology and disease surveillance and virology research teams who in February were called upon to provide round-the-clock expert advice and sample testing to help save British racing during the equine influenza outbreaks. In just one week the AHT was responsible for analysing thousands of samples (more than a year’s worth of tests in just a few days) taken from racehorses to get a full picture of the spread of the highly-infectious strain of equine flu.
Her Royal Highness then went on to unveil plaques to the new office and accommodation buildings in front of employees and AHT supporters. The new office is named after the Trust’s founder, Dr. Reginald Wooldridge who established the Trust back in 1942 with the aim of advancing veterinary research and to develop new techniques and medicines. A vision which is still at the heart of the AHT’s work.
To this day the charity leads the way in preventing disease and injury in dogs, cats and horses. There are two veterinary referral clinics on site, providing state-of-the-art care for very sick and injured animals as well as laboratories where scientists discover cures and treatments and prevent diseases in companion animals from occurring in the first place.
The accommodation building is named after Dr. Keith Barnett who established the Small Animal Referral Centre’s Unit of Comparative Ophthalmology in 1975. The building provides accommodation for vets enrolled in the charity’s internship programme, and is a fitting tribute to Dr. Barnett who made an unparalleled contribution to canine ophthalmology.