William Inglis, MRCVS;

born April 9, 1918, died

February 20, 1999

William ''Bill'' Inglis, who died recently at the age of 80, was the archetypal small-town vet whose skill and diligence earned him a a reputation worldwide.

Such was the affection in which he was held that almost 100 farmers in Fife with whom he worked in 50 years of veterinary medicine, until he retired two years ago, paid for a specially commissioned portrait of him as a gift.

Mr Inglis intended to hang it in Fordell Castle near Dunfermline, which he bought four years ago, following the death of its previous owner, Sir Nicholas Fairbairn MP.

He had spent much of his time in retirement further restoring the castle and its surrounding grounds.

Originally from a Borders family, his interest in animal welfare was encouraged by his father, who had a veterinary practice in Alloa.

After qualifying at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in Edinburgh, he started work on Christmas Day, 1942, later working with colleagues Alistair Loudon and Ken Davison in Appin Crescent, Dunfermline.

Colleagues fondly remember him telling of his very first assignment as a vet - diagnosing the correct treatment of a horse suffering meningitis. It was during and beyond the war years that he was to make his mark, regularly tending the teams of heavy horse and dairy cattle predominant in the area at the time.

The practice later turned its attention to the care of domestic pets, which now takes up most of its work.

During his career, he established one of the first state-of-the art quarantine kennels in Scotland, at Ingliston.

He saw the need for such a facility skirting Edinburgh Airport, providing care for animals returning from abroad to their owners all over Scotland and elsewhere. The kennels are still in operation today.

Paying tribute to his contribution to veterinary medicine in Scotland, his former partner, Mr Alistair Loudon, commented: ''Without doubt, Bill was highly respected, because he was always diligent in his work.

''When he started, most of the work was with cattle and horse, because we had such a big dairy area. It was only later that we diversified into pet care, where his manner was important in establishing and maintaining the reputation of the practice.''