Tributes paid to devoted animal lover David Rollo

David Rollo, founder of Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust pictured in 2006 as he retired from vetinary practice.
David Rollo, founder of Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust pictured in 2006 as he retired from vetinary practice.

TRIBUTES are being paid to the highly-respected Paxton vet David Rollo MBE, who has died at the age of 76.

Mr Rollo spent the best part of 28 years serving as a vet in Berwick, based latterly at the Quayside, before retiring six years ago.

The founder member of Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust, he continued to work for the voluntary organisation on a daily basis right up until his sudden death on Saturday.

Born in Hertfordshire, he always considered himself to be a Scot and studied at the Royal Veterinary College in Edinburgh before working at various places in England.

He spent eight years in Invergordon and three in Hawick before moving to Berwick in 1979 to set up his veterinary practice.

He ran it with a colleague for about two years and then did it single-handedly for nearly 26 years.

Following a major pollution incident in the River Tweed estuary, he founded the Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust in 1992 to provide support for the local swan herd and other wildlife in the area.

A chemical spillage from a factory contaminated many of the swans, and only the swift action of a small band of volunteers under David’s direction averted a disaster.

After retiring from practice at the end of 2006 he continued to work for the trust on a daily basis, very rarely taking a few days holiday.

Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust chairman Richard Goff said: “I have known David since I moved here in 1988. He has looked after our dogs and other pets with kindness and compassion. He was totally committed to the wellbeing of any animal or bird that was brought to him for treatment.

“When one of our Wolfhounds became ill during the night David opened up his surgery at 1am and operated on the dog not finishing till 4.30am. His consultations began at 8.30 the same morning. He never even seemed remotely tired.

“When rescuing wildlife too he never minded how many times he was called out or what time of day it was. He always gave 100%. When he was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 1997 for services for the care of wildlife in Northumberland it was well deserved.

“Last year his health began to fail and he was in hospital for several weeks, but the day he was allowed home he wanted to go to the shed to make sure everything had been done properly in his absence.

“Words cannot describe how much he will be missed not only for the work he did at the trust but by all of us volunteers and committee members who have lost a very dear and close friend.

“Our thoughts are with his wife Kay at this difficult time.”

Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust director Barrie Mortimer described David as “a caring man with an almost obsessional love of animals, particularly wildlife.”

He added: “Even when his health started letting him down, he still kept at it and even when his wife, Kay, had to drive him around he would sit in his surgery giving her directions and kept involved right up to the day he died. It is the way he would have wanted to go.”

Tributes have also been made on the Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust Facebook page.

Mandi Spowart wrote: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of a much-loved and greatly-respected man whose devotion to animals was amazing to see. He is gone but never forgotten.”

Colin Easton added: “David Rollo shall be very sadly missed. He was a very nice man and a very good vet. He will be missed by all.”

Donna-Marie Perry wrote: “So sad to hear. He was such a dedicated vet to all wildlife that came his way.”

A funeral service will be held at Borders crematorium in Melrose on Tuesday at noon.