Peter Dingle: Queen’s personal award for Norfolk vet’s role at Royal stud

A Norfolk veterinary surgeon, Peter Dingle, who has died peacefully aged 91, was awarded personal honours by the Queen for his contribution to the Royal stud.

For more than 30 years, he was the equine vet at the Royal stud at Sandringham and also Wolferton.

In the 1980 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, as the personal gift of the Queen.

Peter James Dingle, who was born in London, studied at London's Royal Veterinary College and then became as assistant in a practice in Guisborough, Yorkshire. His father, Reginald James Dingle became the EDP's first London editor in 1944 and his brother, John, was also on the EDP's staff.

When a practice came on the market, he seized the rare chance to buy it and moved to East Rudham, near Fakenham, in 1950. For four years, he was a sole practi-tioner until he took in a partner, which eased the burden of out-of-hour calls. He was a contributor to veterinary journals and wrote for the EDP's farming pages.

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He enjoyed the large animal work and working in what was one of the country's largest mixed practices until he retired in 1983. As vet at the Royal stud, it was a big responsibility given the not inconsiderable value of the stallions and mares involved.

For many years, he was the hon veterinary surgeon – unpaid – at Fakenham racecourse and given an inscribed clock by then course chairman, Gerry Bullard, in 1985.

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In retirement, he also wrote a history about bare-knuckle boxing in the days before the Marquess of Queensberry's Rules were adopted. Entitled the 'Champions of England,' it described many of the great prize-fighters including the exploits of Norfolk's Jem Mace, who was born at Beeston, near Dereham in 1831, and became champion of England. Much to his regret his years of research remained in manuscript because his book was never published.

Married in 1946 to Janie, they would have celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary this year.

He also leaves daughters Frances and Jennifer, son, Iain and four grand-children and four great grand-children.

A funeral took place at St Anthony's Catholic Church, Fakenham, on Wednesday.

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