Michael Wright was born on 28th May 1931 into a veterinary family. His father, Alan Wright, had purchased a practice in Macclesfield in 1928 from the widow of Mr Wagstaffe. The practice, situated in Church Street West, flourished, looking after predominantly dairy cattle and working horses. By 1949 there were 4 veterinary surgeons and two members of support staff in the team and the business occupied its current premises at 38 Cumberland Street ( a former builder’s yard)
Michael attended primary school in Macclesfield and then boarded at Culford School, Bury St Edmunds. He was a keen rugby player, he swam and competed at athletics. It was at Culford that he met Wendy, a sixth former at a neighbouring school, who later became his wife of 61 years. Wendy’s father was an East Anglian farmer who trained greyhounds- this was to provide Michael with a lifelong interest in coursing grey hounds.
After school, in 1950 Michael entered the Royal Veterinary College, London. Whilst at the RVC he played the guitar and was recognised as having a great singing voice. Wendy was also in London so they were able to see plenty of each other during their university years.
Michael went further afield from Macclesfield to see practice- to practices in Whitchurch and Southampton, amongst others. On qualifying in 1955 however, he returned to Macclesfield to join his father’s practice, with colleagues Donald Munro and David Morten. The duty rota involved 2 or 3 nights on duty each week, with only one weekend in four completely off! There was an open small animal surgery between 5pm and 7 pm – run by whoever had finished their calls first. Bills were sent out quarterly ( until milk cheques were paid monthly- then the practice changed !).
Michael developed the reputation of being tremendously strong and relishing a physical challenge, whether casting a strong calf or dealing with an unmanageable horse. He had a huge appetite for getting through a great volume of work. Clients and colleagues always knew where they stood with him- he commanded respect, showed integrity and was very fair. Michael was very sociable and hugely enjoyed the company of his clients, friends and colleagues both when working and later when he retired.
In 1968 Alan Wright died and Michael took over the practice as senior partner.
Wright and Munro, later Wright and Morten, was one of the first practices to offer a routine fertility visit service to dairy farm clients, pioneered by Michael and David Morten. Their service evolved after discussions at the regularly attended meetings of the Lancashire Veterinary Association ( LVA), which provided an excellent forum in which to share practice experiences and ideas. Michael joined the Council of the LVA and became the delegate to BVA Council in the early 1970’s. He became President of the LVA and subsequently , in 1987, President of the British Veterinary Association.
During the 1970s Michael developed an increasing interest in equine work and this eventually led to he and Wendy building a new house next to Ridgegate Reservoir in Macclesfield Forest, with an equine clinic attached. During the building project they lived in a caravan; the new farm house was built from stone reclaimed from the original farm on the site. Equine patients were seen by Michael and many other members of the practice team up until the year 2000.
Michael and Wendy had three children- Susan, Steven and William. William sadly died at an early age. Michael was involved in Youth work in Macclesfield- he was chairman of the Boys’ Club he founded with a friend.
Later in his career Michael became the senior claims consultant for the Veterinary Defence Society and he was also a practitioner representative at Liverpool Vet School- always bringing the practical, pragmatic vet perspective to veterinary training and challenging problems.
A memorial ceremony, held at Macclesfield Crematorium, was attended by family, many former clients, colleagues from the practice and the BVA and friends. The respect, love and affection felt for Michael and his family were evident throughout the ceremony. John Yarwood gave a heartfelt tribute full of anecdotes relating to practice history. The day was rounded off with a few pints of Guinness ( Michael’s favourite drink) at Sutton Hall.