Evangelical TV Supervet preaches to the converted at near sell-out charity talk

TV Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick was preaching his message of one medicine, one love and one hope to the converted at a near sell-out charity talk in Shrewsbury.

Supervet Professor Noel Fitzpatrick entertains the crowd at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
Supervet Professor Noel Fitzpatrick entertains the crowd at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury

Professor Fitzpatrick had been invited to be the speaker at Theatre Seven event on Monday by his good friend and Shrewsbury Severn Rotary Club leading light Julian Wells.

Prof Fitzpatrick credits his friend with helping him get through suicidal thoughts after other vets said he should be struck off.

For the Supervet's practices aren't without their critics in the veterinary profession. After he created bionic legs for a tortoise called Hermes, which later died, he was accused of being unethical.

The poor creature had its legs chewed off by a rat when it had been hibernating and was much loved by his family.

"I was accused of doing it to be on the telly," the professor told his appreciative audience.

But when it comes to ethics in the profession of deciding what treatment to give and when he hit back by questioning whether it was ethical to carry out repeated routine procedures that cause bones to fracture.

And he claimed that other vets were able to carry out surgical procedures after limited training. He's been a surgeon for 30 years but says he has no axe to grind with people who do not share his views. He just wishes his critics would speak to him face-to-face.

Supervet Noel's big belief is that human and animal medicine should be one and the same.

He argued, in the town that gave birth to Charles Darwin, that species are essentially the same, so vet medicine and human medicine are but different sides of the same coin.

He founded the Humanimal Trust to preach that gospel. Tuesday's £30-per ticket event was to raise funds for the Trust and causes backed by Rotary International.

He uses stem cell technology to treat pets and has invented revolutionary new treatments to regrow bones, and even in one case to give a pet new paws. He draws his inspiration and innovation from "the universe" including a packet of Freddo chocolates, to invent new techniques.

The talk, which bounded along at a joyous, laughter-filled pace, was filled with revelations, announcements and insights into the personal influences of Noel.

From a little boy in rural Ireland, who was bullied at school, and had close relationship with his mother but not so close with his father, he had dreams of turning into Vetman, a superhuman cross between Superman and super vet.

Deeply compassionate about all life, he had been unable to save the life of a sheep and dreamed about having super powers. Today (Tuesday) the final text of of his new children's book, Vetman, goes to press, he revealed.

At times the talk felt like a cross between a comedian, a Shakesperean actor, and one of those American TV evangelists as the Professor bounded across the stage, morphing from genial to shouting/yelling and back again.

But his stagecraft was one of a seasoned professional celebrity who knows how to get a crowd onside by using a mix of humour, pathos and making a connection with the crowd.

He did his homework on the county town and the eternal debate about whether its name should be pronounced Shrews-bury or Shroosbury.

He professed to wishing he lived in Shrewsbury because of its connection with Charles Darwin, pop band T'Pau's lead singer Carol Decker, and for the connection between the Flaxmill Maltings and Skyscrapers.

There was plenty of pathos and pause for thought, too, following the recent death of his own beloved dog, Keira.

"I loved her so much I can't put into words how much I loved her," he said.

But he said: "Out of love comes innovation."

The professor's talk took in how he accidentally kicked the Queen's handbag under a table during a select lunch at Buckingham Palace. He described her as a "beautiful soul".

He also had fun with Julie, a sign language interpreter, who had to keep pace with his rude words, references to anatomy and all sped along at 100mph.

There was even some audience participation with teenager "Noah" who he called on stage to make a point to his dad, Andy, that if people can choose treatment for their children, they should have the choice of treatment for their pets, too.

Appealing to his followers, Professor Fitzpatrick said they were the "guardian angels of oneness" before closing the show to a loud round of applause.

But the standing ovation was left to sign language interpreter Julie, who managed to keep up with the pace of the ebullient high priest of Humanimalism.

In opening the show John Yeomans, of Shrewsbury Severn Rotary Club praised the professor for his "special generosity" and for the boost it would give to their charities.

He invited anyone interested to join their ranks.

"We need some new faces," he said.

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