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A Tribute to Jill

Anne Jillian (Jill) Pearson BA VetMB MRCVS

12th September 1952 - 3rd April 2021

Jill’s career-long colleague, John Grieve, opens the tributes:

"It is with the greatest regret that we inform you of the death of Jill Pearson.

Warm, witty and wise, she was a superb vet, both as practitioner and teacher, who combined encyclopaedic knowledge – especially of “exotic” species (small mammals, reptiles, birds) – with sound, real-world practicality.

Jilly graduated in 1976 and immediately joined my single-handed practice, where she’d done student practical work and already shown both her ability and great potential. She was my practice’s first full-time vet employee, remaining for nearly 45 years: a reliable, loyal, unflinching and wonderful colleague, much-loved and respected, who acquired and retained a large loyal following of clients.

Her exceptional strengths were in “exotic” species’ clinical work and in teaching, in both of which she became renowned.

In the 1980s Jilly grew exasperated with the poor quality of “exotic” stock sold to her clients. So, she set up her own pet shop behind Ansell’s Garden Centre at Horningsea and then, frustrated by the poor stock offered by suppliers, started breeding and rearing many species at her home smallholding in Harston, guaranteeing quality and further deepening her first-hand practical knowledge of these species.

As a student Jilly had written, produced and acted in plays, and she subsequently used those skills in her teaching. Her teaching excellence was the foundation of the decades-long outstanding nurse training record at our practice. Jilly was a very popular lecturer, especially of veterinary and veterinary nurse students. Many a student veterinary nurse, faced with an unwelcome anatomy or physiology exam question, has remembered with relief and gratitude Jilly’s classroom antics illustrating the structure and function of an organ system!

Jilly’s life was a packed schedule of clinical work, teaching, family and local church. The last decade of her life was punctuated by increasing courses of chemo- and associated therapy. Yet she determinedly continued working – even tele-consulting during Covid-19 lockdown – until her last couple of months.

Jilly was a genuine “one-off” who enriched the lives of very many. We mourn this huge loss to us all."

John Grieve

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Tributes will be included in the Book of Remembrance for her family and for our practice. 

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She was the most wonderful person and a fabulous Vet. When Jessie our dog was very ill, she was so kind and so wonderful and so very gentle with her until the end. We will never forget her - she was so full of caring and joy. We will really miss her.         Mrs Ashley Holder

Thanks to Jill for all her care of Lola. She was always very sensitive, caring as well as professional.      Angela Bridges

Jilly was a loved teacher to vet students here at Cambridge, bringing out the best of us with the warmest smile and wit. She took pride in her work and is one of the strongest people I have met in my few years on this planet. We will miss you Jilly.   Dominic Neave

A wonderful vet, teacher and carer to all animals. She will be sorely missed by the whole veterinary community.   Phil Franklin

I shall miss Jilly enormously. She was a greatly valued colleague and an inspiration and role model. I have known Jilly for years - as vet student, first opinion vet and then through working with her at the vet school. I remember one particular occasion when I was working in first opinion practice in Cambridge in the days when we all used to see some large animals as well (Peter Robins on Chesterton Road in the early 90's). I was called to attend a poor pony with a broken leg in a field on Newmarket Road. We rapidly agreed that the horse should be 'put to sleep'. I had a shot gun license from my previous practice, but no shot gun. So we rang John Grieves' practice, and soon Jilly appeared in her car - with both a child in tow and necessary gun! She left the child in the car, did the necessary, then left - leaving a deep impression on me. She was so kind and helpful on that occasion but also very practical and demonstrated how to juggle family and work. Jilly was loved by all her students and colleagues at the vet school. She genuinely cared for us all and had a real passion to educate which came across in all her lectures. She will be irreplaceable. I am sure she is in a happier, better place now but my sympathy is with the family and friends she has left behind.               Penny Watson

Jill was a wonderful lecturer and has played a huge role in shaping my career goal of working with exotic animals - I am sure her legacy will last for years to come and I know I won't forget her.          Aithghen Waldron

Jilly was the best VAP supervisor I could have ever asked for- she taught in a way that was both unique and memorable. Alongside many other students, I will forever be grateful for her teaching, kindness and patience. Thank you Jilly.        Sammie Lam

Jill Pearson educated and inspired all of the veterinary students that she taught in Cambridge and many others who encountered her. This is a legacy that will have good effect for a long time to come. Thanks for good conversations too Jilly. Don       Professor Donald M Broom

Jilly was my first supervisor as a vet student at Cambridge when I started in 2015, and it was her that made me really feel at home during such a daunting time. I'm finding it difficult to describe such an incredible person in just a few succinct words. Jilly was joyful laughter and witty jokes, a calming presence, an unrivalled storyteller, a beacon of hope and love. But most wonderfully, Jilly someone who made you feel like you could rule the world. For us students, eventually becoming a qualified vet is arguably equal to ruling the world, and Jilly has without doubt played such an important part in this for so many. I look forward to graduating in just a few months, and hope I can only try to follow in the footsteps of Jilly, in the wonderful life that she led.   Amelia Wainwright

Jilly was my DoS, supervisor, lecturer and one of my biggest veterinary heroes. I always looked forward to her supervisions and lectures as she always made them lively with brilliant anecdotes, diagrams and crystal clear explanations- the teaching prize she won last year was so well deserved. As my DOS, Jilly was extremely supportive and motivating during the ups and downs of my pre-clinical years. I will always be so grateful for having been taught by such a veterinary legend.          Elan Daniels

Thanks to Jill, and her skills with the acupuncture needle, my lovely Toffee (old English sheepdog) lived to a ripe age of 12 1/2. His extended mobility kept him healthy and happy. Jill was always realistic about his longevity which I appreciated, as I did her candour when she suggested that I should scale down any future dogs size -wise in view of my age. She was right and I found it funny! She was with me when she put him to sleep which I found very comforting. Jill also requested to meet the new incumbent, Freddie, and shared my joy at falling in love with my lovely puppy. Jill was a wonderful and supportive vet. Thank you Jill. Helene. Helen Anna Rosalie Greenhalgh

We first got to know Jilly when we attended the same church. Contact was interment for many years. Jilly came in to school with a three legged dog - her visits much enjoyed by the children. Contact was resumed when we brought our two cats for their first annual check-up. They took to her immediately and appeared to enjoy their visit. They were reluctant to leave, one setting up bed on the pan of the weighing machine. RIP Jilly. Your life was a very special one. Thank you for your friendship and great humour. We're sure you'll find the company of Saint Francis and have much to share in your love of animals.              Rosemary Farren and Marguerite Roberts

Jilly was our vet and go to person from our first dog Faro a Siberian Husky in 1989 to our over 150 exotic animals we have now, and was the inspiration and grounding we needed to set up our animal business, she was always forthcoming with advice, happy to pass on her amazing knowledge to our family and staff. Over the years we became friends and would happily discuss everything during consultations with the animals. Jilly enriched our life as well as our animals and will be greatly missed. We extend our thoughts to her family and colleagues and feel blessed to have known her and had such a fantastic working relationship over the years.  Mitchell and Hazel Price (The Animal Experience)

We first came to Jill after discovering the hard way that not all vets know one end of a rabbit from the other. Her caring warmth and humour meant the world to us as we struggled in early years of multiple rabbit ownership and caring. She understood both the animal and its owner and would cheerfully listen whilst we talked of having to 'chase Teasel round the living room and off the chandelier' whilst trying to get him to take baytril and always showed great compassion at times of sadness. She was always realistic when she needed to call on someone else’s additional advice. 'I will talk to an adult' she used to say, often meaning Mrs Ford in those days. Without her so many rabbits would have led shorter and more miserable lives, and we would never have started our rabbit sanctuary of Parsleys Warren. Eventually we also came to her with tortoises and hens as our 'family' expanded, and she will be very sadly missed by them all.             Twigs Way

As a long standing dog owner, one knew Jill was a vet of the highest order. Whenever you were in the consultation room with one of your beloved animals you just knew you would be getting the best professional care possible. Her way was matter of fact, always entertaining and the patient somehow accepted that she was there to help. The visit that stands out in my mind was when my 3 year old rescue Spanish street dog whom my whole family adore took ill one night and by the morning was struggling to even breathe. Within one minute of examination by Jill she said the words "you've got a very poorly little dog here" to me. It was then that he was rushed to the back where another vet then helped Jill drain almost a litre of pink chyle liquid out of his chest which was crushing his lungs. A nurse then rushed off to another vets to borrow an oxygen bottle for him which we then used to keep him going on his journey to Dick Whites where he underwent lifesaving surgery culminating in two 6 inch incisions plus removing part of the sack around his heart. He certainly was a very sick boy and Jill’s speedy diagnosis and calm, professional manner I will never ever forget. He recovered very well and although now fearful of the vets, he has little idea of the top notch veterinary care he got at Cherry Hinton Road that day he went in to see Jill. I am so very sorry this happened to Jill. I could see how she was so poorly last time we went in for our check-ups with her. Her spirit was one of a fighter and I've no doubt she struggled at times to be working in the job she so clearly was born to do at an incredible level. I should imagine to be taught by her was never dull and deemed a very fortunate event in a young vet’s career. Bless you Jill, and thank you.           Victoria Mold

Wonderful woman - could make tortoises smile. Augusta and Byron - and me - will really miss her               John Foy

We met Jill many times over the 25+ years we've been bringing our cats to the practice. She was always so pleasant, positive and knowledgeable. We will miss her, and commit her now into God's care. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and colleagues.               Margaret and Mike Beasley

What a wonderful vet, and what a wonderful human being. So caring so personable, marvellous communication with adults and children alike. She had the most marvellous manner. Such a wonderful human being.              The Standley Family

I knew Jilly both through her professional life and through am-dram. I remember her competence, her warmth and her communication skills. I am so sorry to read of her death - it will leave a large gap in many people’s lives: both professionally and personally. Even our obnoxious cat liked her! Anne Dickinson

Jill lived to work, to care for and ease the suffering of all the patients in her care. There were times that she roared furiously and it was this ferocity that drove her to keep living despite the obstacles she faced. Those that knew her well heard of the extra chair at Christmas offered to the lonely and of the warmth shown to troubled people she tried to guide to a brighter life. Good bye Jilly.         Heather Hogg

Such a patience and kind lady I always called you my chicken doctor, you helped me so much with them. Jill you will be so sadly missed look out for Charlie he will be fluttering around with you, God bless.      Lynn Clack

I had the pleasure of knowing Jill both in her university role and as our chicken vet. She was hugely respected by her students, and was an excellent teacher and role model. I remember her enthusiastically attending student events even when receiving treatment; the students loved her. She also became our vet when we got chickens. Sitting in the waiting room with a chicken in a pet carrier means you get some funny looks, but Jill's love of our pets (whatever they were) and encyclopaedic knowledge always made appointments reassuring and relaxing. We knew we could not be in better hands. Jill's contribution to the veterinary world in Cambridge was so enormous, both in terms of her teaching and her practice. She brought the same down-to-earth, good-humoured and knowledgeable approach to both and it was a privilege to have known her. I send my every sympathy to her family, friends and all at the practice.    Juliet Foster

We were so sorry to hear of Jill's death. She was extraordinarily patient, and extraordinarily kind, when our cat fell ill and had to be put to sleep.        David and Kasia

An amazing person and an amazing vet - what more can I say. Simply the best. Kind, caring, professional - the list is endless. Thank you Jill.    Elizabeth Heyer

Jill provided years of care for our parrot who was, in her words, a 'special needs bird' (due to a hip and leg deformity from birth) Her manner with him and with me over the years built an incredible amount of trust and respect for her knowledge and her empathy. Jill's understanding of owners and their relationship with her patients was a tremendous thing... something that went far beyond knowledge of medicine and played a critical role in the health and lives of my best friend and I. The world is a poorer place without Jill and my condolences are shared for all that knew her. I have no doubts that her life and career provided an enormous amount of inspiration to students, as well as relief and care to animals. Her work and life made it possible for so many people to have years of joy and companionship with their pets that might not have happened without her care. Her example to those she inspired will continue that legacy.   Gregor McPherson

We are devastated to hear the news of Jill's passing, so very sad. Jill looked after all three of our Chinchillas for well over a decade and her knowledge of small animals, particularly exotics (Chins were back in the day) was second to none. She was always so warm and kind even during the saddest of occasions and even when Jill was ill she would still put all her effort into ensuring animals came first. It is no understatement to say that Jilly's passing is a very big loss to the animal community in Cambridge and far beyond. If student Veterinarians and Nurses could learn just one small thing from Jill's wonderful expertise, it is this - always address the animal BEFORE the owner... pet-parents pick up on that and Jilly was a marvel at communicating with animals, she was a true 'Dr Doolittle'! Rest in peace Jill, thank you for everything you did for Charlie, Cindy and Loopy, we will forever be grateful to have known you. Steve & Sue Bryant XX          Steve and Sue Bryant

I have a very strong memory of Jill at the Practice from many years ago. I was one of many in the waiting room with the usual array of well-loved pets, when a figure walked in with an amazingly beautiful Iguana draped around his neck. Jill immediately appeared to welcome in this wondrous creature, with a look of huge delight on her face. Jo Roos

Jill was a superb, caring vet, very wise and so kind. She will be missed by so many - such a sad loss.              Julia Bevington

Just wanted to express my thoughts, as Jill was such an inspiring lecturer at college and helped me retain a lot of information with her dynamic and unique style. My thoughts go out to her family and friends.      Alison Welch

I didn't see Jill Pearson that often (my 'owners' are feline rather than exotic) but the times I did I found her direct (which I like), skilful and supportive. The cats of mine she saw clearly recognised her competence and behaved in an exemplary manner. I'm sorry to hear of her death and know she will be much missed by her patients and their owners.           Stella

I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Jill, and shocked as Jill was such a life force she seemed invincible. Jill was not only a vet in whom I had unwavering trust, I considered her a friend. Though I first met her at a school concert where our daughters were both students, we got to know each other over more than 15 years of vet visits. Jill would always open her door with a loud, lovely greeting to every animal. For me, and probably for others, once the treatment was expertly given, we would chat about gardening, aging parents, the progress of our children, health, and life in general. I would emerge from the consultation enriched by our conversation and with the confidence that I had done the best for my dog. One couldn’t help but be impressed with how highly intelligent, knowledgeable and skilled Jill was as a vet and what a wonderful person she was in herself. Behind her honest, straightforward manner was a deeply kind and empathetic nature. Jill saw us through the lives of two of our much loved dogs and was there supporting us through to their heart breaking end. I admired her incredible courage in facing the cancer which plagued her and the bravery she showed in all the painful treatments she endured. She acknowledged the fight, but was determined to keep going and to get the most out of life, her practice and teaching. I am immensely sorry for her family in losing her. Jill will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by everyone who knew her and by all those who are indebted to her for her help, generosity of spirit and understanding.                Jennifer Bricogne

Jill was an exceptional and memorable member of our village. When, newly married, my husband and I moved to Harston, we joined "Hats" (Harston Amateur Theatrical Society) of which she was a highly respected and talented mainstay. Her humour, flair and passion for making the spoken word live on stage was remarkable. She enthusiastically ensured that we all enjoyed walking the boards from the eldest to youngest! I had met Jill in the pretext of her life in Harston Parish Church too and was inspired by her dedication and devotion to the community there, to her village and to a committed life as a Christian believer. We have, over the years, used the Veterinary practice Jill worked at and seen many loved pets pass through the hands of the caring clinicians there. Not least we remember Jill with her compassionate and skilful treatment of our young hamster some years back. She was a generous and kindly person in animal care as much as she was a beautiful person. We had become aware that Jill was unwell at her own admission on a visit to Grieve's practice some years ago. We are all saddened to hear of her death, but we take heart in knowing she truly left the world a better place on her passing. I won't forget her kindly words of advice to me personally as a friend which I will always treasure. Fondly remembered by us all and greatly missed. Rest in God's gracious peace dear Jill with love from us all.            Natania Thomas and family

I met Ms Pearson about fifteen years ago when a started to visit the Veterinary Practise with my chickens. I had a large Brahma cockerel, Rusty who lived for over ten years and especially at the end of his life we went to see Ms Pearson quite often. She loved my weird pet cockerel and I loved to talk to her. She was caring, wonderful and I will never forget her.               Judith Booth

Jill has been an outstanding vet for us, we loved going to see her as we knew that she gave exceptional advice and had such wide ranging knowledge. She seemed to genuinely enjoy treating our bad tempered tortoise (Lady Ozil) and was always funny, quick witted and honest. We will miss her humour and her knowledge and we send our deepest condolences to her family and everyone at the practice.           Bridget Carter

Jill Pearson was a wonderful mix of humour, compassion and pragmatism. I had the utmost confidence in her whenever I brought my six tortoises to visit over the years. Up until then, none of the vets I used knew much at all about tortoises, but that all changed once I met Jill Pearson, and my tortoises' lives were all the better for it. One memory I have of her compassion was when one of my tortoises was very poorly and there was a chance I would have to miss my daughter's wedding in the USA. Jill insisted I left him in the care of the surgery for the week, rather than the four days he was due to stay, which allowed me to go the wedding and know that the tortoise was receiving the best care. I was more than grateful for this. It was always a pleasure to meet her and conversations were free-roaming, interesting and at times very funny. It's a cliché, but she really was a unique person and I will miss her very much.        Veronica Windmill

Lovely Jill - thoughtful, tenacious and determined to keep our dogs happy and healthy as long as she could, but equally compassionate, kind and clear-eyed when it came to helping us face the end of their lives. She undertook our elderly greyhound Pilot's last consultation in the carpark so he could lie on his bed in the boot of our car - no standing on ceremony for Jill - and then came to our home to let him die with the peace and dignity he deserved, calm and loved. She was a solace for us at several difficult times and I hope knowing how much she was liked, as well as respected, by both colleagues and clients is some comfort to her family and family of colleagues in the veterinary world. I will always remember her with gratitude and respect as a really good vet and a really terrific human being. Lovely Jill - smart, valiant, down to earth and, above all things, kind.               Sally Woodcock

Jilly was my lecturer at Milton college, and then again when I trained as a vet nurse, she was a brilliant, enthusiastic and fun teacher who I learnt so much from, I then had the pleasure to work with her at the practice for several years, it was always a joy to work with her and her knowledge was amazing. I have always brought my children’s Rats in to see her over the years, I will really miss her, she truly was an inspirational and caring lady. Sending lots of love to her family.           Natasha Buchan

Just to say how terribly sorry we were to hear about Jilly. It is due to her care, expertise and knowledge that Bert is about to celebrate his 21st birthday. She cared so much for the animals-and their owners, and is going to be very greatly missed. Kind regards to her family and friends at this very sad time.              Ray and Lisa Carlton & Bertie Boy

I am very sad to hear of Jill's death. As well as being a total star with all our animals (particularly the neurotic ones) she was always fun, fascinating to talk to, and refreshingly pragmatic. I was very amused the day that she called a student vet into the consulting room purely to startle her with my enormous cockerel Gatsby, and also the day when she called me a chump (or at least an almost-chump) for taking on yet another neurotic rescue dog! She will be much missed by everyone who knew her.       Jackie Duckworth

Jill always treated our pets with love and compassion. She was sensitive to us too as she felt our anxiety when we were worried about them. What a tremendous loss.             Paula Hnat

As a slightly unexpected new tortoise adoptee, I was so grateful to meet Jill at the Cambridge Vet Group. Her zest for life and tortoises was infectious, even in the small timeslot (generously stretched to the limit). She promised I would be growing dandelions crops under cloches before long, and she was right! As a complete stranger to Jill, I was particularly struck by this energy as her new hair growth indicated that she was recovering from some form of radiotherapy and so must have also been really tired. She guided us through our first hibernation, ringing us at home when we had concerns and putting us at ease about what to do. Since then, she's made the annual tortoise check-up something to look forward to. For me, if not the torts! She will be very much missed.    Jennifer Findlay

Jilly was my favourite lecturer during my time at Cambridge. She was always so engaging, her lectures punctuated with anecdotes about her own menagerie of animals over the years, and unhurried, taking her time to make sure we understood as much as possible. She fostered my keen interest in exotics and was a natural choice to approach to be my supervisor for my final year research project, which is almost complete. I am sad she will not see the final product. Despite everything else she had going on she was always at the end of the phone, whether to excitedly tell me she had sourced me some extra hedgehog faeces to analyse or that she had used her wide network of friends and colleagues to provide me with additional support (for things like statistics, which we both hated). She cared about me as a person as well as a student, telling me that everything would always work out and be okay if I was ever stressed or sad. I will miss her listening to me ramble about wanting to create the ultimate guinea pig mansion and telling me about what her parrots had been up to recently. As I look forward to graduating this summer, I hope to carry into my career the staunch promotion of the welfare of exotic animals and kind and gentle patient manner that I always admired in her. She was such a special soul and I will remember her fondly and miss her greatly. Lydia Michaelides

I first met Jill around eight years ago when, as a novice tortoise owner, I approached her for advise on trying to persuade my naughty tortoise to hibernate. I immediately felt Jill’s warmth and enthusiasm for her beloved shelled friends and she gave me lots of useful advice, most of which my tortoise ignored. I continued seeing Jill each year, until finally, three years ago, my tortoise finally listened to Jill’s advice and hibernated. Jill and I had numerous phone calls, with her often berating my wayward tortoise, with much laughter shared. Jill was a fantastic vet, humorous, warm, knowledgeable, kind and I will miss her enormously. I feel so sad we have lost a truly wonderful vet, and this loss will be multiplied many times by her family and friends. My condolences to you all.              Jan

Jill was a source of down to earth information and compassion on my chicken keeping journey. She will be deeply missed.          Nicola

What can I say. Jill was an inspiration to me, taught me so much, and helped me achieve my dream of becoming a vet. She was a wonderful teacher, friend, colleague and mentor. She will be missed, but forever remembered. Thank you for everything Jilly. Sending all my love and condolences to your family and all the CVG team.     Jo Morrall

I was lucky to not only work with Jilly from 2004-2006 but also have her teaching me at college. She was an utter inspiration and teaching came so naturally to her. I cannot begin to say how much she encouraged and taught me, and inspired my inspiration to continue to learn more about exotic species. So was the most naturally gifted vet I have ever worked with...would always have words of encouragement for everyone. Without Jilly I wouldn't be half the vet nurse I am now, and I shall be eternally grateful to her for all she did for me.               Claire Speight

Jill was an amazing lecturer and I loved our a&p sessions, she will always be fondly remembered and sadly missed by everyone who knew her x        Toni Thorp

Jill, you inspired so many of those you taught, full of passion, knowledge and experience you shared with us. You always took your shoes off to lecture as you walked around the room engaging us all. You inspired my need to drive change with feeding enrichments, removal of the bowl! This is a very sad loss to the profession, but rest in the knowledge that you have shared your insight and educated so many over the years. RIP Jill               Jo Oakden

Such a lovely, lovely lady and a massive inspiration for me at Cambridge University. For me she made my understanding of anatomy complete and her supervisions we’re always looked forward to. I spent a lot of time seeing practice with Jill after lectures and there’s not a single exotic patient that I see where a pearl of wisdom from Jill doesn’t come into play. She was greatly appreciated and she will be sorely missed.     Helen Redfern

Such a lovely and special lady you could see how much she loved animals by the way she handled and treated our guinea pig as if she were her own. May you rest in peace.            The Collett Family

My thoughts are with Jill’s family and friends at this sad time. I often remember her lessons as a student nurse with fond memories. She inspired and encouraged. She will be sadly missed xx            Rebecca Lock

Mrs Pearson was a wonderful vet. Her advice was always sensible and helpful and she will be much missed.  Christine Butler

We are so sad to hear the news about Jill. We are so grateful to have known her she was always kind, funny and helpful. Our late dog Oscar absolutely adored her, she cared for him so much in his later years and was always so positive about everything. She will definitely be missed not only as a brilliant vet but after spending a lot of time seeing her with Oscar in the last five years, our friend too.     Kim and Andrew Whitmore

Jill was an outstanding vet with a real way with both people animals and their owners. My son and I were amazed to see our stroppy bantam positively enjoy being handled by Jill, she clearly knew she was in the hands of an absolute professional. Deepest sympathies to Jill’s family, friends and colleagues who I know will all miss her greatly.             Vicky Peavoy

On my Cockerpoo’s first visit to the vet we met Jill. “Why on Earth did you get THIS creature when you could have had a perfectly good poodle OR a spaniel?” she demanded with a huge grin. “Bingo will be the boss of the house,” Jill said. She was right about that. In fact, everything she said was spot on. When I asked how long it would take before the puppy calmed down she roared with laughter! What a wonderfully warm, caring and funny person. And immensely knowledgeable. It was the only time we met, alas, but I have never forgotten her. I left feeling I was blessed to have such a delightful dog. I expect Jill made a lot of people feel that way. She had a gift.        Allison Pearson

Jilly was an excellent and inspirational lecturer, who invested so much time into both teaching and caring for her students. She will be sorely missed!   Gerda Bachrati

The world won’t be the same without Jill Pearson in it, And the animals have lost their brightest star     Laura Simmons

Jill supported me as a new lecturer and helped me hugely in the first two years of the job              

I'm so sad to read this, Jilly was a fantastic and enthusiastic lecturer. Always talked about my lectures that I had from Jilly, she had a magic ability to allow her students to understand. I'd say, " I just don't get it" not a problem for Jilly though. World class in education. The veterinary profession has lost a true gem. Thoughts will colleagues and family x               Emmadenise Robinson

Such a fantastic teacher. I learnt so much from her and made anatomy and physiology fun to learn. A real character, she will be sorely missed.               Beverley Lee

I had the pleasure of being taught both anatomy and exotics by Jill when I was training as a veterinary nurse many years ago. She had such an enthusiastic manner of teaching that I couldn’t wait to be a college every week and because of her I qualified first time. Lovely lady, I will never forget her.         Hayley Marks RVN

My husband Chris and I first met Jill at a city centre church in 1978 when we came to Cambridge. We lost touch after we moved abroad for several years but it was a joy to re-connect when we moved to John's practice after the university sold the Hamilton Road practice previously owned by our friend, Peter Robins. Old Cambridge vet practice history! We could not indulge Jill's love for exotics but with our cat and dogs we always valued her professionalism and reassurance, never making us feel that we were "over-anxious" parents. It is a mark of her professionalism that we had no idea she was fighting /living with illness. We salute her and send our condolences to her family. A fine woman and vet gone too soon!               Stephanie Bishop

Jilly got me through my rvn training and sparked my interest in exotic species. I'll always remember her stories, cpd evenings where you couldn't move because of her tortoises wandering around the room and her enthusiastic teaching techniques. Mostly I remember her kindness and her genuine care for her students. Thank you for everything x   Alison Perfect

She was one in a million. So many things from her exotics lectures that I still remember and use every week. And she was utterly amazing when I brought my pets to her back when I was living in Cambridge as a student. Absolutely one in a million as a vet and just as a lovely, lovely lady           Nadia Wright

Jilly was a wonderful supervisor at Cambridge, who not only taught us so much, but did it in a way that was compelling and entertaining. She never failed to make us laugh and educate us even when she was going through so much personally. She was determined, courageous and truly inspiring, leaving a lasting impact on those she met and taught, whether briefly or for many years. We are incredibly fortunate to have known such an exceptional vet, teacher, and person.        Olivia Turner

A truly fantastic lecturer, I still remember her, A & P lessons well and unique stories. The best of old school vets. Thoughts are for her family and Veterinary family.             Andrew Mason

Jill was my lecturer when I was training to be an RVN. That was nearly 16 years ago and I still can remember what a fabulous person and lecturer she was. She had a way of teaching that made everything make sense. So sorry to hear she has passed away. RIP X             Sarah Bonner

Amazing lady and teacher. Jill will be sadly missed. My thoughts are with her family, colleagues & friends at this sad time.       Sarah Gipson

Thank you Jill for your support, wisdom and kindness to a young woman desperate to be a vet. You have helped shape so many into who we are today. Rest in peace.           Amelie Geddis MRCVS

Jill was one of a kind. She cared for all our budgies (and their human family!) with great knowledge, tenderness and a genuine passion for exotic birds. Jill understood that our tiny birds were a part of our family, and we trusted her with complete confidence. Our heartfelt condolences to Jill’s family, friends and colleagues.           Wai Shan Cheng

I am so sorry to hear the sad news about Jilly and send my heartfelt condolences to her family. I wish them strength in the hard times to come. Jilly was our vet and friend for over 20 years. She was a truly exceptional woman with an incredible depth of knowledge and skill but what we will miss most is her kindness, warmth and humour. I know she has touched and enriched the lives of so many people and we are no exception. It was a great privilege to have known her.              Janice Western

I had the pleasure of being lectured by Jill, she was inspiring, captivating and had a wonderful sense of humour! My deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.               Kelly

Our enduring memory of Jill will always be when we brought in a well-loved Frog from our garden pond many years ago. The frog was greeted with the same enthusiasm and expert care as any exotic creature from far flung shores. Needless to say that it made a full recovery and survived for many years after. For those who might question how we knew, it had a very distinguishable marking in its back! Thank you to Jill for all the care over the past forty years that we have been with the practice. Julie & Dennis Grove, Oakington.    Julie Grove

I was lucky enough to be lectured by Jill as a vet student where she stood out as not only a fantastic teacher but a remarkable person. Her passion and enthusiasm for exotics was infectious and her down to earth practicality made treating species a lot of people are worried about treating seem approachable. I still remember her witty and on-point description of ferrets as 'sawn-off cats with a sense of humour'. She will be greatly missed.               Sarah Gowen

We are truly sorry to hear of a colleague’s passing. Thank you, Jill, for your expertise and professional help over the years. With Kind Regards, The Clarendon Street Team                Clarendon Street Vet Team

I am one of the Cambridge Vet graduates of 2018 and will always remember Jilly’s exotic lectures. She lectured with such warmth, passion and humour! We all thought she was amazing, and she will be remembered fondly by so many people. So sorry for your loss x               Aimee Hesketh

We only had the privilege of meeting Jill once but were fortunate to speak to her on the phone a couple of times. We will never forget how helpful Jill was to us and later her kindness to us at a very difficult time. We can imagine how devastated her family, friends, and the practice must be. Please accept on our sincere condolences at this time of great loss.       Clive Flack and Jacqui Avory

I am sorry to hear about the death of Jill Pearson. I worked with her for a brief period of time at the University of Cambridge. She was wonderful in every way, knowledgeable about exotics, funny kind, and thoughtful. I felt I could talk to her about anything, and often did. All my thoughts go to her family, friends and colleagues       Amita Shortland

So sad to hear this news. Jilly was brilliant & instrumental in our daughter becoming a vet. Our love of lurchers was a direct result of Jilly's help in finding our first one.          Peter and Viven Constable

Dear Jill, thank you for being part of the story of our family; from when as newly-weds, we brought our first kitten ‘Dylan’ to see you, to when as new parents (both of twins and twin kittens!) we brought ‘Amber’ and ‘Marmite’ in, through to last year when we and our now grown-up daughters brought our elderly, but still fit (thanks to you) twin cats. We will miss your wisdom, common sense, warmth, and sense of fun. Thank you for always being there to fix a broken limb, to notice a problem that we would otherwise have missed, and to show us how to pop a pill in. We (and many others) will miss you so much. With much love from Ellie, Christie, Fiona, Tony, Amber and Marmite. Tony King

Jill was an inspirational teacher and all round good egg. Her many anecdotes will remain with me. The animal world was a brighter place with her in it.      Sam Shand

Always so inspirational, a wonderful teacher making everything so much easier with her fantastic diagrams/drawings, you lit up a class room and always brought humour, Jill our profession will miss you greatly, rest in peace lovely lady and Thank you for all your help❤️               Donna Lewis RVN

Jill was always such a warm sensitive vet and very caring of animal and owner alike. I can always remember attending one of her talks, I must admit I wasn’t looking forward to it very much but felt I should support it. It was a brilliant evening and so pleased I’d gone. She fought her illness with great courage and determination. Jill will be sadly missed.               Diane King

I met Jill only briefly but her enthusiasm and warmth shone through abundantly. I'm so sorry to her family, friends and colleagues for this very sad loss.            Laura Morley

I always looked forward to taking our rabbit Elvis to the vet because chatting to Jill was such a pleasure. She was so warm and funny, and completely unfazed by our total inability to control our feisty furry friend. As she got to know us, she took to opening her door and calling for "Elvis and staff", which always made me laugh. She would then proceed to scoop him up under one arm and wander off for assistance in administering required vaccinations, knowing we wouldn't be able to keep him still for her. I could see from sitting in the waiting room that she had a marvellous way with any pet, big or small, and I knew that whatever question I had I could trust in her answer and advice. I had often wondered how she was during the pandemic, and I'm glad that my last conversation with her was one full of happiness, as she recounted the fun of her daughter's wedding. I only met Jill a handful of times really, but from the impression she made on me, I can only imagine the gap she has left to those close to her. But what a great lifetime of memories too. With deepest sympathy to her family and all at the practice.         Jo Thompson

Such sad news. Thoughts are with Jilly’s friends and family. I was a student at C. A. W 13 or 14 years ago and remember vividly her passion for her work. Even though I don't work in practice anymore I still find myself quoting, 'my lecturer once told me that...' and of course her tortoises roaming the classroom will be forever remembered!              C

So very sad that to hear that dear Jill sadly passed away. She was an amazing and unique vet and will be missed by many. I remember when she first started working for Mr Grieves surgery and always requested her for my pet’s appointments. I will miss her witty, kind and caring ways and chats on life in general. Condolences to her family, friends & work colleagues at this very difficult time.        Mrs J Jackson

Jill was the kindest, caring person that it was always a pleasure to meet. Jill gave first class care and attention to my torts for many many years. Rest in Peace Jill My torts and I will miss you very very much. Gaynor, Tillie tort, Tommy tort, Two tort. Twiggy tort and Tottie tort               Gaynor Hayde SRN SCM

An amazing lady, it was an honour to be taught by her back in 2001/2002, she had a way of keeping you interested and wanting to succeed. A big loss to the veterinary community. My heart goes out to her family.       Helen Connor

I am so sad that I will not be able to bring my new puppy to Jill when I collect him in a few weeks’ time. She was adored by my previous dogs despite the fact that she stuck needles in them, sprayed up their nose, and tended to their pains. No trembling in the waiting room for them, just delight when she appeared in the doorway. Jill was a wonderful vet - kind, skilled, trusted and with a sense of fun, but she was also very good with people as well as animals. Her kindness and empathy were qualities from which I benefited and for which I have been extremely grateful over the years. The world is a poorer place for her passing. She will be missed. Jan Freer

Jilly has known me since I was 16 (more than 30 years, I’m not saying how many more than 30), and helped mould me into a vet both before and after university. We worked together for 7years all together, and she taught me so much. She was a generous, warm, and hilariously funny woman that I am immensely glad to have known. I am so profoundly sad to hear that she has gone, I will miss her profound marvelousness. As John said, an absolute ‘one-off’. I send so much love to her family, who she was fiercely proud of. You were much loved and I will remember you for all of my life as a wonderful friend Jilly. X          Claudia Hartley

Jill taught me, she was enthusiastic caring funny with a good heart. I saw her numerous times in the last 30 years, she was always vibrant, honest and truthful. Heaven gained a legend   June Peacock RVN

I feel hugely privileged to have worked with Jilly who inspired and scared me in equal measure! What a truly inspirational vet, always happy to share her vast knowledge and expertise and a natural teacher both on a formal and informal level. I learnt so much from her by just listening to her consultations and in casual conversations. A massive loss for the veterinary profession. Best wishes to her family. Heather Bentley

Gill was a very special vet for our Labradors: she always listened carefully to our account of what had been happening and examined with skill and care. We well remember her diving onto the back seat of our car to pick up our elderly Lab Guinness who was very unwell with food poisoning, recognising rapidly how unwell she was: a couple of days later she phoned up to tell us with pleasure that she was now "peeing for England" and could come home. Her acupuncture for our arthritic Lab Gemma gave her a new lease of life, though we enjoyed teasing her that when she called her a "pillock" for disliking the acupuncture needles that would have landed me in trouble with the GMC but apparently not the RCVS! Sue enjoyed putting the world to rights while Gill waited for the acupuncture to take effect: it was not just Gemma who came out of the surgery feeling better. It was a privilege to have known such a very special person             Stephen, Sue and Sam Barclay

It was my absolute privilege and good fortune to work alongside Jilly for ten years at Cambridge Veterinary Group. Her breadth and depth of knowledge across so many species were extraordinary. She not only had a detailed knowledge of veterinary medicine and surgery but of natural history as well as first-hand experience as a carer of many exotic species. It was this knowledge of natural habitats, husbandry and animal behaviour that set Jilly apart from so many others. More humbling than anything was her great passion to share this wealth of knowledge, and an incredible talent for communicating information in an entertaining, comprehensible and memorable way. Jilly always had time to help and was always at the end of the phone if you needed her. She never stopped asking questions, challenging the status quo and striving for the best for her clients and patients. The admiration and loyalty of the students, clients and colleagues that her life touched is testament to what an exceptional individual she was. No matter what challenges Jilly had to deal with she approached them with immense determination and fortitude. She continued to give so much of her time and energy to others and enriched so many people’s lives in doing so. She was a generous, warm hearted and wise friend and colleague whom I will miss so very much.     Caren Stubbington

I will so miss Jilly's forthright but empathetic attitude. She was a great source of plain good sense and fun Not phased and actively welcomed my emergency turkey consult, teaching a student all the time. Thanks Jilly for being you.                  Jackie Brearley

7 Burmese cats and their owners over the last 35+ years will ever be grateful for the devoted care delivered with such good humour and friendly advice by Jill. Thank you Jill Rest in Peace            hn and Janet Brady

Dearest Jill, so many fun years together when you taught A&P to so many veterinary nurses at CAW all those years ago. Your knowledge, your wit, your sarcasm......all will be greatly missed. Rest in peace. Much love BD xxx               Barbara Drysdale

I was one of the many Cambridge vet students that Jilly lectured over the years. She was an engaging and entertaining teacher, approachable and funny, and we always looked forward to her lectures. I remember being stumped on an exam question in 5th year and being saved because I suddenly remembered her acting out the concept in her lecture - she certainly brought the theory to life! Thinking of her family and friends at this time.              Renata

first met Jilly at The College of Animal Welfare whilst studying to be a veterinary nurse, where she taught me everything I needed to know about Anatomy & Physiology with lurcher in tow and under the fear of having our mobile phone put in the fish tank if we dared to look at it (and rightly so!). A few years later working together at the College, I always remember running an evening ‘care of the tortoise course’ which was so packed we struggled to fit people in the room! An amazing, funny and inspirational lady who will never be forgotten xx                 Alison German

So sad to hear of Jill's passing. She was without doubt the best teacher I have ever had the pleasure to be taught by. Her passion, enthusiasm and knowledge was inspirational. Jill made learning fun! I still have all her exotic notes and will still refer to them from time to time 23 years later. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time ❤💔               Gemma Pridmore

Jill was a one in a million vet; an inspiration to us young vets learning all about exotic species from her and giggling in her lectures, and a reassurance to the worried owner presenting their vomiting snake (I was both!). Her compassion and humour were amazing and she will always be remembered with a lot of love.             Frances Hopson

My condolences on your loss, she will be truly missed, I cannot thank her, and the whole practice, enough for your wonderful loving care that you gave my Burmese cat, Lyra, through the ups and downs, right up until the end. Many thanks.               Julia Hale

I am so sorry to hear of Jill’s passing. I fondly remember her lectures and with her sense of humour and wit which made me want to have Jill teach every lecture I had! I am blessed that Jill has been part of my veterinary nurse career and I send my deepest condolences to all her family. The Veterinary profession has lost a true legend! RIP Jill lots of love 💕        Kay James

It was a combination of an online search and our daughter that saw us come to you, there being no local possibilities. You all make us welcome (and understood about negotiating the A14 reconstruction) and we know we and Sebastian have been and will go on being in safe and friendly hands with you. Jill will have had too profound an influence on the character of the practice for it to change its best features.      B, J and H

Jilly was quite simply one of the most generous, kindest and extraordinary people I have ever met. It was an absolute honour to have known her. I cherish all the fond memories, over many years, seeing how she made life so much better for my chickens and my beloved dog Hazel. And inevitably life was so much better for me too. Thank you Jilly. May you rest in peace.   Chancey Gallick

Just to take a moment to say how sad I am and that I’m thinking of all her family and friends and all the animals she helped. Such a huge loss.               Caroline Collings

So very sorry to hear of the loss of dear Jill! My condolences to her family and friend! She will be greatly missed xx        Rachel Kirk

An amazing vet, a sick dog diagnosed as being off colour with an ear problem by another vet became very sick and luckily we were able to get an appointment with Mrs Pearson who sat and watched and asked a question - how long as he been praying like that? She then explained that he was very sick but nothing to do with his ears, it was pancreatitis! Mrs Pearson took time, you were not rushed, the diagnosis and treatment were explained in a way that you could understand. A vet you could trust, you will be sadly missed.   Julie Sadler

I was lucky enough to be taught by Jilly at Cambridge Vet School, although simply saying she taught doesn't do her justice. She was more than just an educator to all of her students. She was reassurance when we were stressed, a helping hand with anything anatomy or exotic related, and a wonderfully witty friend to sit next to at dinners or have a coffee with. Jilly was a highlight of my Cambridge education and experience of vet school, and I will always be inspired by her passion, empathy and knowledge. Thank you, Jilly, for everything.               Nick Smith

Jill has looked after my tortoises for the last 35 years.The first time I met her it was with Sammy Tortoise who was very sick having had a stroke. Jill taught me how to feed her with a stomach tube and how to look after her.She made a good recovery and I still have her.Jill has treated both my tortoises many times over the years,always with confidence and great humour.She was a delightful Lady and I always enjoyed the visits.She was such a warm,friendly person,and it is with a heavy heart that I learnt of her sad death.She is someone that I feel privileged to have known,and shall miss greatly.A truly lovely Lady.   Lin Reid

I first met Jill when I was very young, back in the late 70s/early 80s. Our guinea pigs had mange and John Grieve Veterinary Practice was very new! Over the years we visited many times with various different animals and Jill was always a friendly, compassionate and knowledgeable presence. Her obvious love and concern for animals was very reassuring for us as pet owners. I also remember her being at the Horningsea reptile centre as my brother had lizards. Again her knowledge and passion for exotics was very clear. In more recent years since moving back to Cambridge I have continued to use John Grieve (now CVG) and since having children we have been regulars with cats and guinea pigs and our dog Luna! Jill was particularly kind and caring when our guinea pig Rosie was dying, always considering us but making sure that Rosie’s welfare came first. Thank you Jill for being such wonderful vet - we will miss you. From the Stronge family             Marianne Stronge (nee Pitman)

Jilly Pearson was a truly unique woman and an inspiration to so many students. Her lectures were a beacon of hope in the long veterinary course for anyone interested in exotics - guaranteed to surpass most other lecturers in terms of interesting content, applicability to real life and entertainment value. Jilly Pearson was a woman I greatly admired and I aspire to follow her example throughout my career. She was unfailingly kind, friendly and patient. Thank you for all the knowledge you shared with all the students you taught Jilly - both your exotics knowledge and your approach to life. Your memory will live on for generations of exotics-keen students to come.  Emily Bertin

Thank you Jill for your kind, calm and practical approach to animals and humans. You were a wonderful vet who was always welcoming and friendly whatever the nature of the problem. I know you will be missed by your colleagues. Condolences to your family.            Christine Emerson

Jilly had been a wonderful colleague and teacher. I will always remember her kindness and sense of humour. Even though she was very knowledgeable, she was also very humble. Her passion in exotics had increased my curiosity. I remember when I first started working at CVG, I needed to look after a tortoise over the weekend. Since Jilly knew that my knowledge in tortoise was limited, she provided unlimited support and guidance throughout the weekend. I was so grateful for her help. I will miss Jilly very much. She was a wonderful teacher and colleague.   Sharon Cheung

My daughter plays the piano... she also had a winter white hamster called Herbie. Herbie's cage was beside the piano and used to come charging out at practice time, particularly, it seemed, to two tunes Lightly Row, and Long Long Ago. One day we noticed when Herbie came out that she started singing... a little chirpy pipping kind of sound... she then, when we held her afterwards, chatted away. The chatting got more frequent as did the singing.

One week my daughter was away from home for a few days, both Herbie and I struggled with that and spent a bit more time together than usual. She kept coming out and sitting looking at the piano and chatting... I played the tunes to her and she started to sing and ran around in her cage.

Anyway I was a bit concerned something might be wrong and the cute noises might actually be hamster speak for, "I hurt", or " stop that racket", small person was a bit fretful before she went away and the last thing I wanted was for her to come back home to a dead hamster. So I rang our vet, Cambridge Veterinary Practice...the lady who answered said she'd not heard anything like it... she asked a colleague who was also perplexed and said to being little Herb into see their small animal specialist.

So that July day in 2019, I took Herbie, in a Thai food take away box, to the vet. I was that mad person talking to a cardboard box, surrounded by labradors and cats. The very welcoming vet ushered us in, she weighed little Herb and examined her, said she was clearly loved and in great shape. Then she listened as Herbie joined in our conversation and then she watched a video I had filmed of the singing. She examined Herbie's bits, and announced, "she's on heat"... apparently in the wild these little fellows live in community tunnels just below the snow line and communicate with each other particularly when in mating season with these little chirping sounds. The vet then asked what key small person's piano tunes were in...the key of C... and she said that it was probably a key that resonated with the hamster (in a way say A flat minor wouldn't) and that horny little Herbie had fallen in love with the piano and the music has caused her to call out to it... and with small person away, Herbie had been pining for her piano mate.

She went on to explain the way a hamster's nether parts work and said Herb was a sociable little soul but may be lonely. I asked about breeding her but apparently she was a bit old at a year and a half... I pointed out that I had small person at 47, she said it was possible but with significant risk...so a choice I made for myself isn't one I felt I could make for small person's pet.

Herbie's singing apparently followed a weekly cycle (akin to our monthly cycles) and when her heat phase passed, it would cease..in meantime she needed to keep on keeping on with music and lots of handling and just enjoying her happy hamster life with us :)

Anyway, I hugged the vet (something I've never done before or since) and took Herbie (in her take away box) for a celebration latte (she had a bit of tortilla) and brought her home and played her a tune in C major then gave her a bit of broccoli and a cuddle. After that I could hear our happy little love struck hamster singing away, calling out to the piano to play her another tune...

That wonderful, knowledgeable and incredibly kind vet was Jill... she was musically minded as well as being a marvellous vet and was as excited as I was about the C major thing. 

Herbie our singing hamster passed away during the first lockdown age 2 1/2 and very loved.. maybe now she is serenading Jill. 

I will never forget her warmth and kindness that day and send love and deepest condolences to her friends and family. Ellie Stoneley

When I moved to Cambridgeshire in 2007 with my gang of rescued tortoises, Jill Pearson was recommended to me as an outstanding tortoise vet - and so I found her to be, taking quite a few of my Mediterranean tortoises for check-ups or treatments. Jill was not only a very competent and experienced vet, she also 'talked' to her clients - that is, the tortoises - and treated them as personalities. For example, she would always welcome Alfie, 'the red-eyed monster', my male ornate box turtle, and tell him off for trying to kill her - which that high-spirited small creature certainly tried to do! Jill's sense of humour really added that special something to our meetings, and I also really admired her for talking so openly about her cancer. Even now, many people avoid mentioned the 'Big C' - but she seemed to accept it as part of her life and carried on with her amazing devotion to helping animals and their owners. Jill, I miss you badly, and I will never forget you!                Ute O'Meara

Jill was fabulous with my very large, scruffy rescue dog, Dodger. Unfailing kind but no-nonsense, she was the Vet that finally put a name to the collection of symptoms that he experiences. She called him a 'proper dog', a term that endeared her to me and one that we still use about him. Dodger is still with us and although somewhat frailer he is still enjoying life in part due to the medication regime that she worked out with us. Jill spoke to me in plain terms about Dodger's prognosis and also about his end of life care - about how to make the decision. Fortunately we do not have to make that decision yet but when we do it will be her words that guide me. "Is he happy?" Sending best wishes and sympathy to her family and friends.                   Di Kennedy

Jilly, A wonderful person and extremely supportive about whatever we did within the college Zoological Centre collection, On a personal note I have know Jilly for well over 30 years and she always put a smile on my face, we laughed and bantered together at every opportunity. My team always looked forward to Jilly arriving, discussing many species and celebrate many events, with Jilly's supportive and supreme knowledge and understanding of both animal and human behaviour. The ZEC team at Shuttleworth college owe a lot to Jilly's motivational discussions of encouragement. I will miss the daily phone calls and monthly visits to the Zoological Centre, I often feel Jilly understood more about me than I do myself! ALWAYS HAVING TIME TO CARE AND LISTEN. The team and I are very sad with Jilly's passing, but comforted that Jilly is in peace. Never forgotten and a true blessing to have had the privilege of working and knowing Jilly, an irreplaceable lady who we held in very high esteem. The parrots used to perk up and call on Jilly's arrival to the ZEC and Jilly would say to our students, you need to learn to talk parrot! Then explain bird behaviour to them, as a truly dedicated well educated vet would. Jilly was also very proud of the practice she worked at and you could see very contented with her whole approach to life. What a lady and a true marvel. As Jilly would say a good egg! Rest in peace, Greatest sympathy, Carl and team.                Carl Groombridge and Zoological team at Shuttleworth

Although I only encountered her once, Jill's kindness left a lasting impression on me. I had the misfortune that both my gentlemen (my dear husband and my elderly terrier, Archie) synchronised their departure from this life. Spending nearly all my time at the hospital, I feared for Arch - would I know when to bestow on him the great privilege of a scheduled exit? I met Jill in that ghastly last week, and she understood immediately, sharing with me her own personal experience of mortal battle, and perhaps her sense of an ending. Through her empathy and her wisdom she gave me courage and strength. I have never forgotten her, and I will always think warmly of her. A wonderful vet; a wonderful human.                      Deborah Carnwath

Very sad news, A lovely person. Condolences to her family and all the practice. Deepest Sympathy from the Gentile Family              Angela Gentile

We were so sad to hear about the passing of Jill Pearson. Although our current cats have not had the privilege of being treated by her, we have special memories of her caring, efficient and compassionate treatment of our previous cats. We gained much useful knowledge from her about cats, their different personalities and levels of intelligence. As is often the case, Jill was involved in so much more than we realised and we regret not having had the opportunity to talk with her about them.                      Linda and Michael Gormon

In fond memory of Jill, who was so kind and thoughtful in looking after our little rescue rabbits.            Tom Austin

Jill Pearson In the mid 1990’s Jill was instrumental in saving the life of our first Golden Retriever, Chad, when we came to John Grieve’s for a second opinion, on the recommendation of Mary Wood, who held the Brensham affix before passing it to Anne in her will. Our then vets had puzzled over his symptoms for several months to no effect. As a result, we switched all our dogs into Jill’s care. She always remembered their personalities and foibles, and they were always pleased, even eager, to get to see her, and would rush into the consulting room. When treating one dog, she would always ask detailed questions regarding those left at home, without having to check on their records. Jill loved her four-legged clients and they loved her. When baffled [a rarity] by a condition she would go home and read and consult widely until she came to an appropriate answer. When Anne Fanning [ my partner of 38 years] died I was left with 6 Goldens, with ages ranging from 2 to 14, and there were areas where I soon discovered I was not well briefed. Jill gave me her personal telephone number and made sure that both I and the dogs were coping well. She was a tower of strength at that difficult time, even though she was having to face her own health challenges. Jill’s generosity of spirit, ability to impart knowledge and unfailing good humour and sense of fun have been inspirational. Outside of the veterinary practice Jill gave much pleasure through the fund-raising concerts and storytelling sessions she organised, and we always looked forward to her rib-tickling renditions of traditional tales. The world is a better place because of her life and all that she gave to others, and I send my deepest condolences to Jill’s family at this sad time. Although Anne is no longer with us, I know how much she appreciated Jill’s love and care, and she would have had many more memories and anecdotes to pass on.                   Ian Roper - Brensham Goldens

Lovely Jill - thoughtful, tenacious and determined to keep our dogs happy and healthy as long as she could, but equally compassionate, kind and clear-eyed when it came to helping us face the end of their lives. She undertook our elderly greyhound Pilot's last consultation in the car park so he could lie on his bed in the boot of our car - no standing on ceremony for Jill - and then came to our home to let him die with the peace and dignity he deserved, calm and loved. She was a solace for us at several difficult times and I hope knowing how much she was liked, as well as respected, by both colleagues and clients is some comfort to her family and family of colleagues in the veterinary world. I will always remember her with gratitude and respect as a really good vet and a really terrific human being. Lovely Jill - smart, valiant, down to earth and, above all things, kind.    Sally Woodcock

I was so sorry to hear the sad news. I saw Jill many years ago when I had rabbits - she was so knowledgeable and her positive manner always inspired confidence.                     Barbara Walston

I will always remember Jill's dedication and kindness. My deepest and most sincere condolences to Jill's family,friends and colleagues. There can never be another like her. I was so relieved and delighted to find a vet who cared as much about my tortoises as I do. Jill went above and beyond her duty in all respects. I recall particularly her supreme efforts to help Juno, my 104 year old tortoise to pass her eggs last summer, she knew that she'd seen a paper or article somewhere regarding a drug combination and did, indeed, track it down. It was an anxious time for us all. It was always a pleasure to see her, and the way in which she carried on during her illness and treatment was truly inspiring.                  Val Horspool

Thank you for all the care you have given to my 2 pet cats and all the other animals that you must have treated. Thinking of your family and sending many condolences RIP                               Andrea Brooke

I’m truly lost for words over Jilly’s passing. She wasn’t just an incredible vet, she was a truly wonderful human being and friend as well. I worked in the Cambridge veterinary anatomy teaching facility, where Jilly was highly regarded by students and staff members alike. Everything she gave was given with extraordinary generosity and humour. Like many others, I considered Jilly to be a friend, as well as a colleague. But the dedication to her veterinary patients and their families was second to none. As a hen rescuer, I often asked for the ridiculous, and she knew I’d push for miracles, and Jilly delivered so many miracles for us over the years. At weekends if I’d had a particularly bad rescue, left with something I didn’t know how to deal with, I knew I contact her for advice, it didn’t happen often, but she was my total lifeline, and many a life was saved. The world in general is now so much poorer, the veterinary world is also so much poorer, but her family are the ones who I feel for the most, she was just so proud of them all, and talked about her family with enormous warmth and love. She must have been such a worry, still working, when sometimes she should have been tucked up in bed. Rest in peace Jilly, you were one tough cookie who I owe an enormous gratitude to.                                 Mel Lazenby

Jill, I and my Ridgebacks will miss you dearly. You were always so understanding and patient with all of them. A "proper" vet in every way.                                  Nigel Heath

Please send our sincere condolences to Jill’s family. She had a very warm and reassuring manner with animals and families alike that inspired real confidence. She will be greatly missed.                                    Sarah and Mark Wormald

I am so very sad. Jill was a wonderful vet. She looked after five of our family pets, gave comforting, witty, warm and pragmatic advice. They were never short-changed. I enjoyed every single one of our encounters, interspersed with her wise reflections on life, bread making and family. Her last comment on our rescue whippet: ‘He has the “makings” of a perfect dog’. How often we have quoted her and enjoyed the irony. What a loss. Jill’s family. Friends. Love to you all xx                Wendy Blythe

Truly thankful for Jill’s love and dedication to the animal kingdom. Praying for family and friends as they mourn her passing.                                 Martin and Josette Brooke

Jilly was my go-to vet whenever there was a problem with one of my falcons. She carried her specialist knowledge lightly - with humility, a down-to-earth style and unflagging good humour. Just great!             John Kavanagh

Our family very much appreciated Jill Pearson’s kind, knowledgeable approach to caring for our pets whenever she saw them. She was reassuring, vivacious and fun. We send our sympathy to everyone at the practice who worked with her over so many years.                Carol Friend

My daughter and I were very sad to hear about the passing of this wonderful vet/person. Her care of our furries was always exemplary and delivered with her droll humour which was a delight. It was a comfort to have the benefit of her skills and we always felt our pets were safe in her care. She was always gentle with them – although perhaps less so with us if we weren’t following her advice!!! (We had a persistently overweight bunny). She was brave and pragmatic about her health and was keen to “get back in the saddle”. She was lacking in any degree of self pity that I we could see although we understand her illness was very serious. She was a valuable person and we shall all be the poorer for her passing. They definitely don’t make them like her any more. Rest in peace Jill.                   Linda, Stephanie, Patrick, Primrose, George, Sidney, Poppy and Fifi plus Wilf

Cambridge Vet Group (formerly John Grieve) have looked after a succession of cats for us for nearly 30 years. All the vets and other staff we have see have been excellent, but Jill Pearson did stand out. Partly this was due to her skills and wide experience, but also because she was so good with what she termed 'end of life' care - doing the right thing for the circumstances. She was a great support when the inevitable happens. So, I am sure she will be greatly missed, not only for her professional skills at CVG, but also by her friends and family. A sad day.                 Nick Whitehead

Jill has looked after my cats since 1982, and said I’m her longest serving client! She must have been one of the most knowledgeable cat vets in the country, both for illnesses and behaviour. She was also expert on our behaviour as pet owners and was always frank and kind with us. Jill was so lovely, always friendly and bright even when going through gruelling treatments. I gave her boot socks every Christmas on my cats’ behalf. I feel I have lost a friend as well as a wonderful vet. My deepest condolences to her family and colleagues. How we shall miss her!             Margaret Martin

An outstanding clinician and a great loss to everyone who uses the practice. Condolences to her family and friends from myself as an individual and from RSPCA Cambridge Branch as an organisation.                      Rosemary Rodd

We were fortunate to meet Jill but only on one occasion. But we were privileged to speak to her on the phone a couple of times. We will never forget her kindness and helpfulness to us at a difficult time. We can imagine what a huge loss this will be to Jill's family and the practice. Please accept our most sincere condolences at this time of great loss. Rest In Peace Jill                                    Clive Flack and Jacqui Avory

I didn't know Jill well but the moment we first met and I entrusted her with my aged tortoise I knew she was pretty special. Sad loss to all who knew her. Condolences to her family and friends.           Marion Criswell

Jill struck me as an incredibly caring, intelligent, interesting woman. I'm sure she leaves a huge gap in the lives of friends and family, and a big pair of shoes to fill at the practice.               Becky Garvey

Dearest Jill, we so enjoyed seeing you with Horus at his appointments and you'll be desperately missed by all. Your knowledge, guidance and wisdom has helped so many animals and their loving owners. It won’t be the same without you - may you rest in peace now and always.                       Warren, Saira and Horus xxx

Jill was a delightful person and an immensely talented vet who always greeted us and our elderly tortoise like old friends, we will miss her. Our thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.   Jean and Robert

Dear Mrs Pearson - such a lovely lady and a brilliant vet. She always called any pet I brought to see her 'Tredge' (short for 'Treasure' of course). She instilled confidence, was always cheerful, and you knew she would get to the root cause of anything that was ailing your pet. I am really sorry for her loss and I will never forget her. My thoughts are with Jill's family.                        Elizabeth Chatters

I was very saddened to hear of Jill's passing. She provided excellent advice and support on the care of our tortoise, Trevor, as well as our rabbits (including spotting that one rabbit, which we thought was a female, was actually a male, which explained a lot!) Trevor the tortoise owes his well-being to Jill, who recognised that he was very unwell, and prescribed syringe feeding for a few weeks. I always enjoyed chatting to Jill during consultations, and appreciated that Jill continued to consult by telephone during lockdown. She will be sorely missed.                                Joanna Depledge

I can’t believe we only found Jill recently. She was a wonderful person and brilliant with our Amazon. I hope she is at peace now. Love and best wishes to her family. She will be sadly missed. xx                      Alison Potter

Thank you for taking care of our Tooti. We will never forget how you keep to our appointment, even though you had a family emergency. You won't be forgotten.            Tommy Wong, Emma Bagherian (and Tooti and Pickle)

My sincerest condolences to Jill’s family and friends and all at the Cambridge practice. Although Jill’s professional skill is renowned, I believe she will be equally well remembered for being a “people” person. She understood so well the trauma that the owners of pets might be suffering if there was a serious problem and she could deal with the human side of the matter in a most sympathetic and caring manner. My 37 year old Amazon parrot with weak bones and a heart problem will miss her firm but gentle hands, and I know Jill will be sorely missed by all that had the great pleasure of knowing her. She will be a tragic loss to the practice, but I am sure she will have passed on much of her knowledge and expertise to her successors.                        Peter Day

I was recommended to contact Jill by my local vet when my conure (age unknown) severely mutilated his body after failing to moult successfully. Both he and I were in a terrible state and I feared I would have to say goodbye to him. Jill treated us both with the utmost kindness and compassion. It was doubtless her expertise and tender care which saved him and he continues to shout at full volume at strangers. I will be forever grateful to her and the staff at the practice for nursing him back to health. I was so sad to hear that she is no longer with us and send my condolences to her family.                         Karen Tumber

My sincere condolence on the passing of Jill. I have been a client of the practice for over 30 years and Jill has tended my pets on many occasions. I was also fortunate to know Jill as a plain mum as her 2 children attended the nursery i worked in many moons ago. She was a cheerful, knowledgeable and thoroughly professional lady who always gave time on appointments to engage with my dogs and myself. Her reassuring manner was a comfort and she would explain in detail any treatment required. A huge loss to us all.                       Jenny Free

Jilly - A good friend and an outstanding vet: always inspiring confidence, always dependable. Whatever shall we do without you? May you rest in peace and rise in glory.   Sarah Maxwell

Our condolences to you all especially Jill’s family. A kind, knowledgeable, sympathetic and caring lady who will be sorely missed. TJ was her favourite, as were all of her charges!                   John and Jan Sibley

Through the Practice Mrs Pearson and I go back many many years, and I always looked forward to bringing my dogs in to see her .... she always made me feel my dogs were the best with her kind and loving approach and also her sense of humour.                                    Kate Huff

My thoughts are with you all. Jill's tortoise knowledge proved invaluable over the short time that I'd been coming to the practice with Todd.                          Lesley Jenkins

So sorry to hear about Jill she was a very caring and knowledgeable person and will be sadly missed.                     Lesley Hughes

Thank you so much for all the care you have provided my tortoise, Toby, with. You taught me how to take the best care of him, from raising him as a hatchling to the juvenile/adult tortoise he is today. I will miss our chats about our tortoises and their individual characters. You always took the best care and addressed all my concerns I had when I came to you with questions about Toby and you were always available on the other end of the phone during the scary first hibernation! You will be very sadly missed by me and Toby!                    Benjamin Yeomans

Our deepest condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones. She was such an amazing vet, much respected and now much missed.                     Eeva Stewart

A sad loss for Jills family and Cambridge vet group. I have used your services since 2004 with my dogs and always appreciate the caring nature of all the staff. RIP Jill Pearson                       Nicola Seaton

Mrs Pearson was our Vet for more than 20 years and our dogs loved her, couldn’t wait to get into the treatment room (the promise of treats could have had something to do with it). One of our dogs she treated with acupuncture on a regular basis so I got to spend a fair amount of time in the surgery with her. Her caring professionalism and humour were amazing, and when I applied to become a volunteer for Pets As Therapy with our current labrador she was really supportive and wrote us a lovely reference. She was a wonderful lady and I feel privileged to have known her, My heart goes out to her family and colleagues.              Cathy Riethoff

As a bird keeper, Jill was always asking about my many birds, Golden Crested Waxbills, she kept these and had good memories about them, she will be missed by ALL. May she rest in peace.    David Smith

I have many fond memories of our A & P lectures at CAW. Abductors and adductors will never be forgotten, and neither will Jill xx                      Stacy Brook

Jilly gave our cats excellent care. But my first memory of Jilly is in the 1980s when we were members of Holy Trinity Church. Once the sermon, was made memorable by Jilly having provided the preacher with an actual live snake as a visual aid!             Karen Goldstone

Very sad news indeed! Such an amazing personality and also so very caring! She used to be a member of our church Holy Trinity Cambridge many years ago and helped Jane Hatfield (now keiler) with a python for a sermon. She was sincere we have a bright one here referring to My Cat Fifi and referring to My next on Nelso he is not the sharpest knife! I would keep him indoor if you can! She was spot on! I wish she could have met Mia! Rest in peace in God’s glory dear Jilly Pearson!                      Beatrice Rhind

Dearest Jilly When I first brought Stan to meet you he was a quivering wreck having not been treated kindly by our previous vet. Immediately he fell in love with you and subsequently couldn’t wait to get through the door......this made me so happy. You treated him with such genuine warmth and kindness-he knew you cared. Stan would come to see you weekly for acupuncture when his old hips became stiff and sore, I’ll never forget how he floated to the floor with needles in his back.....gently smiling. You would look into his eyes and say “Stan you are a wonderful human”, I chuckled but of course you knew your species better than most! You joked that when Stan was born god had run out of dog paws so he gave him rabbit feet! During Stan’s treatment journey when we were a bit stuck you would say “Bernie we need to take some bloods and send it to the grown ups”...... you had a magical way with both animals and humans and I genuinely loved our chats while Stan was chilling during acupuncture. I respected you greatly and trusted you literally with Stan life..... You Jilly (in your own words) are a Wonderful Human and I will never forget you. Rest in peace sweet kind Jilly X                                  Bernie Constable

Thank you Jilly- you were the most wonderfully knowledgeable Tortoise Vet and held my hand on many occasions. I will miss you professionally and personally.             Ann Carter

Thank you Jill for all your wonderful help and advice Margaret Bonnie and magic Xx                        Margaret Johnston

A wonderful vet who cared for my hens with knowledge, laughter and compassion. My heart goes out to her family. THANK YOU JILL, from the bottom of my heart. Cristina.          Cristina Burton

Just occasionally, you meet someone and think "this is an individual who is just an all-round better person than the rest of us". For me, Jill was one of those. Her combination of wit and wisdom meant not only that I unreservedly trusted her professional advice, but also that I came away from consultations feeling that I had had a conversation with someone really worth listening to, and usually that I had learned something extra (classic memorable examples being the recommendation that I might like to encourage the puppy to eat a bit of horse manure as a stomach-settler, and the top tip to glue tinfoil to the tortoises so that they could be located by means of a metal detector). I would have loved to have had the chance to know her better, but it was a privilege to have known her at all. Truly she was one of the greats, and I shall miss her a lot. My sincere condolences to her family.                 Laura Gerlach

All the things attributed to Jilly in Mr John Grieve’s obituary are true, but there is more. She also had a great sense of humour and was very passionate about wildlife and conservation. I met Jilly shortly after she had joined the practice. Our small family had moved in 1975 to a ramshackle farmhouse in one of the villages with our menagerie containing a herd of tortoises. A vet friend of mine, having done some holiday relief work at the practice, mentioned that a young vet had joined the practice with an interest in chelonia. So I made an appointment and off I went with a recent rescue , an old, large Spur-thighed Tortoise named Jemima whose owner had died. She was found in a shed, still in hibernation mode during June. In spite of my bathing efforts I could not get her digestive system going and there was a peculiar smell coming from her rear end.

Jilly looked at her and said: ”What a whopper and what a beauty”. She gained a fan at that moment. A vet with a penchant for large smelly tortoises and still noticing the beauty of the animal! Brillant. Jilly examined and smelled the tortoise and said a urine sample would be beneficial. At that moment Jemima produced a gigantic puddle on the treatment table and quick as a flash I reached in my pocket containing handy tortoise gadgets, produced the right one and filled it with the liquid handing it to Jilly with the words “Here is your sample”. Was she offended? Jilly being Jilly she just laughed and said she liked obliging clients…

Jilly’s interest in exotics soon got known and her job, a husband, a young family and a menagerie of animals kept her extremely busy. I was an active member of the British Chelonia Group, a Charity for tortoise terrapin and turtle care and conservation and Jilly was very interested in our work and found the time to lecture at the Charity’s AGM and several Symposia. We organised some day courses for Wood Green Animal Shelter where Jilly took the veterinary talks. We collaborated on care sheets, leaflets and books and even acted as expert witnesses in a court case on a stolen tortoise which, much to the surprise of the solicitor, we won as Jilly was an extraordinary orator. When our then Chairman, the late Dr Oliphant Jackson died, Jilly took over his lectures at the Veterinary College in Cambridge. More work, so she was even busier.

Jilly had a great sense of injustice and was upset with the treatment of the Red-eared Terrapins in the UK. Many had passed through her hands, ill kept, often neglected, or abandoned in rivers. Our Charity had made contact with a rescue scheme in Italy ran by a Belgian Charity, whereby feral and unwanted Red-ears from Europe were collected, vetted , chipped and flown over by courtesy of Richard Branson’s European airline, long since taken over. Jilly persuaded her boss, John Grieve, that what he really wanted to do was support the scheme and let her do the vetting and chipping at the practice for the UK. He was magnificent, and said yes. The BCG had a three year contract, which ran into four and during the warm summer months the animals were flown over on flights in groups of around 60 to 70. We had a team from the BCG and a team of Jilly and Flo from the practice and some of the others also joined in. On one occasion an enormous Snapper Turtle had to be microchipped and John Grieve volunteered, using the same practice as with crocodiles. He lifted the animal , Jilly was ready with the needle and a loud applause from everyone when they succeeded.

The BCG runs an annual award for outstanding merit towards chelonia which was won by the practice. It was lovely to have a deputation of the practice including John and Jilly at our Symposium at The Open University and have the award presented by the BCG Chairman. Jilly was so busy chatting that she forgot to have her lunch as she got involved in some case comparisons with some fellow vets. Jilly, I will miss you, both as a friend and as a vet, they don’t make them like you any more.   Henny Fenwick/The BRITISH CHELONIA GROUP

My deepest condolences to Jill’s family. She was knowledgeable, efficient and kind, and clearly cared deeply about our tortoises’ welfare. She had a great sense of humour too.           Neal and Susan Robbins

You were the only one who called me "Lou"
Which no one else would DARE to do !
Walking around with chicken on arm,

All the animals knew they were safe from harm.
Your expertise and knowledge had no bounds
With new challenges, you always found
You fought the fight, there is no doubt
With bravery, and persistence,  not without
The tiredness, pain, another problem to explain ?
But you always came up trumps, and your perseverance was the game !
Still you greeted us with a smile, and a cheeky comment,
Which you don't expect, to enjoy, going to the vet !
Your attitude to life, is inspiring, a learning to us all
We may not be as brave, but we hear your call.
The good Lord has called you to his house,
You lived your life to the full,  it's now time out !
RIP dear Jill, your in our prayers                   Love, Louise and Laurie Barber.    Xxx.    Harston

Our condolences to the family, friends and colleaques of Jill. We do hope those who have worked with and learned from Jill will carry on her excellent work for many years to come.         Phil and Brenda May

It's almost impossible to be able to put into words what Jilly meant to the veterinary profession and Cambridge Veterinary Group. I first met Jill when I was providing locum cover at the practice and could tell immediately how well-liked and respected she was. I enjoyed working at such a dynamic and intelligent practice that I swiftly agreed to staying on full time and benefitted enormously from the wealth of information that Jilly was always happy to share with me, especially in the field of exotics. Years later, as Practice Owner, I was repeatedly in awe of Jilly's determination to carry on working through her illness. Most of us would have chucked in the towel for an easier life, but not Jilly! She popped in for short consultation sessions between chemo appointments and tried to arrange her treatment schedule around her client's appointments. You don't get more dedicated than that! Her veterinary career was supremely important to her because she cared so passionately about her patients and their 'humans', as she would phrase it. This wasn't just a job, but a true vocation, which isn't something that many of us can claim. Not only that, Jilly also taught veterinary students and clearly had a lasting impression on all of them. She was a wonderful lecturer and brilliant at funny anecdotes to help with the learning process. A stickler for correct use of English, she was also called upon from time to time to edit articles for books and journals. Even as I write this tribute I can hear Jilly behind my shoulder eager to correct my grammar and typos! Sorry Jilly - I'm sure you could have written a better synopsis. It's tragic that such a gifted vet should leave this earth so prematurely. So many people (colleagues, clients, students alike) will be devastated by her loss, but not least her family who meant the world to her and who she would talk about with great pride and love. Thank you Jilly for being such a wonderful, inspirational colleague and friend. Lucy x         Lucy Crosby and family

Jill was the first supervisor I met at Cambridge, and has been an inspiration and outstanding role model since. Jilly always had time for a chat, a coffee in the Butterfield at Downing or a quick email. No problem was too small or too big and she always gave her all. Jill would bend over backwards to help a student and I have so many fond memories of our supervisions with her. If I can be half the vet and mentor that she was, I shall have done well in my career. Good bye Jill, and thank you.             Tom Towers

I am so sorry to hear about Jill's death - much too soon. I loved the way she was with both people and animals - honest, frank, funny, realistic but always positive. My thoughts and best wishes are with all of you.                  Maggie Bending

I was so sad to hear of Jill's untimely death. I have worked as a vet near Cambridge for many years and for all that time Jill has always been there - a constant, knowledgeable, reassuring presence - the go-to person who would always willingly help with any exotics problems, and who also later helped me with my own tortoises with great kindness and attention. Her reputation was such that any CPD event she did was always standing room only. She will be greatly missed and the Cambridge veterinary world will be poorer without her.                  Margaret Wilkes

We are so very sorry to hear the loss of Jill. She was the first vet our pet tortoise buttercup ever met when she was a shy timid baby (and wee’d on Jill). She has since thrived (and no longer shy). We are eternally grateful for Jill's advice and support. She will be greatly missed.               Love Betty and Buttercup.

I was so sad to hear Jill had died. She was always very understanding and kind, a wonderful vet and a truly exceptional person. I will always remember her.                  Rosalind Blake

We were very sorry and greatly saddened to learn of the death of Jill Pearson. She was a good friend as well as a stimulating veterinary colleague.

We first met Jill in the early 1980s when she attended courses about birds, reptiles and other so-called "exotic species" that we either ran on behalf of the BSAVA (the other tutor was Oliphant Jackson MRCVS, the pioneer of reptile medicine in the UK) or hosted at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) in London. Jill was always a welcome participant because she was willing to ask the "silly" questions that others wouldn't. She could also talk about the animals that she had kept herself or dealt with in her petshop.

Jill was always keen to learn more about the health and welfare of animals, especially species that she considered to be neglected at the time by most of the veterinary profession. We lived in Huntingdon then and it was not difficult to visit Jill in the practice in Cambridge. John regularly drove in on a Saturday morning, sometimes accompanied by one or both of our children. In the early days he helped Jill with anaesthesia of what were then considered problematic species with little understood ailments, such as rabbits with "snuffles", parrots with air sac disorders and tortoises with stomatitis.

As Jill's prowess with exotics grew, the roles changed. John visited the practice with students, often armed with an endoscope, and helped Jill by taking diagnostic samples and (back at the RCS) carrying out histology and other investigative procedures. An unexplained "outbreak" of tumours in Russian hamsters led to a joint paper about the episode in the Veterinary Record (128, 335-336. 1991).

In 1991 we returned to East Africa but contact and collaboration continued. John was invited to write the chapter on exotic pets and wildlife for the book "Veterinary Nursing" and Jill was the obvious choice to be a co-author. The work was published by Pergamon Press, Elsevier, in 1994.

Following our two long stints overseas we remained in contact but only saw Jill occasionally, mainly at Cambridge Veterinary School. Jill remained a sound, down-to-earth, practical veterinary surgeon. As an example, only she would leave a tapeworm from a parrot in a pot in John’s pigeon-hole at Cambridge and in a note say gleefully “An interesting thing arrived in my consulting room. An African grey with what seemed to be parts of a tapeworm. Would you be willing to look at the specimen?”

We shall remember Jill with great affection and respect. Students loved her and she was excellent with them. She passed on her knowledge willingly and freely. She was also a first-class clinician. John’s case records from the 1980s are arguably part of veterinary history, reflecting how rapidly exotic animal medicine was evolving then and the leading part that Jill played in it. Our family visitors’ book for that same period helps us recall her visits to our home and our friendship with her. We send our heartfelt sympathy to her family and colleagues.                 John and Margaret Cooper

I count myself extremely lucky to have the privilege of calling Jilly a mentor, teacher and confidante. Jill provided welcome reassurance during the infamous Cambridge interview process, where thankfully she saw enough potential to let me into the vet school! Her insights from a life as a practising veterinarian provided a refreshing balance in a world of academics, epitomising all the qualities of the type of vet I aspire to be. As well as being a fount of knowledge across the entire spectrum of ‘exotic’ pets, Jill kept the perspective firmly on entering a career in veterinary practice and all the soft skills which go with it. Jilly fought my corner at Downing on more than one occasion, always providing guidance with her own unique common-sense approach, for which I will be forever grateful. A phenomenal educator and mentor, her bravery through illness just added to my admiration. The vet school and wider vet community is much poorer for her loss.                Rob Hall

As Jilly always said i have known her since I was a bump! Jilly was & always will be a huge inspiration to me having been lucky enough to have her as the best vet & a true friend I am so glad. Jilly was always honest & would do her very best to treat all my dogs & cats. Going above & beyond. I have many funny stories one of my favourite is when she asked if Havoc my querky Flat Coated Retriever was asked if he would like to go to collage & help teach some vet students about electronic acupuncture. Jilly started off his turn with the statement Now can we all be as quiet as poss as Havoc here will act the fool!! He was well behaved but as he said to us if he had known that you could eat as much pizza & play ball with 30 odd people he would have gone to collage sooner! Jilly will be sorely missed but I will always remember her wit & enthusiasm a truly wonderful person xx Sarah Phipps-Baker

It is with a heavy heart I heard of Jilly's passing. Jilly was an exceptional vet and I am pleased to have known her and worked along side her. Jilly's experiences, knowledge and caring hands have helped so many patients, students and colleagues alike. Thank you Jilly for your support, kindness and Christmas Cake. You will be missed.           Iain Cope

I am so sorry to hear the news. Love and best wishes to Jill's family.             Love from the Considines

It was with great sadness to learn that Jilly had died after a long and valiant fight. She was a truly amazing person and vet and my heart goes out to her family and friends at this distressing time. Jilly was in her final year at Cambridge when I joined the Vet School and I have kept in frequent touch ever since. Her knowledge of exotic animals was encyclopaedic and generations of vet students will have been enthralled by her enthusiastic teaching of the exotic animals course with plenty of hands on experience. She was such a fun loving person with a great sense of humour and was always so positive during her illness. I shall miss her smiling face and our little chats about the wide range of things that interested her. She is a very sad loss to the profession, to her friends and above all to her family. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time.             Mike Herrtage

My deepest sympathies to Jilly’s family and work colleagues. Jilly was amazing, caring, funny and utterly professional. She cared for all my labs over many years with compassion and kindness. I always had complete and utter faith in all advice and treatment that Jilly gave. She knew each of my labs characters so well, calling one a ‘clumsy great clot’ every time she saw him, which indeed he was and is still how my family remember him! Fond memories of Jilly opening the consulting room door and calling ‘come on in you clumsy clot’, where upon the clumsy clot blundered in with so much enthusiasm at seeing his trusted vet. I will miss the chats that I had with her during consultations, I will miss her roaring laughter, her patience whenever I asked ‘can you just tell me that again?’, her honesty and above all will always value her professional, wise words and true, true kindness at times when it was so needed. Will be very much missed.                         Karen Austwick

Jill was a born natural to all those around her and her enthusiasm was inimitable. Once Peter Robins retired, Jill looked after many bunnies and my little flock of fife canaries. On one occasion she was treating Solo in a life threatening situation when she reached out to me and explained all about the stomachs of a wee bird with a diagram I have to this day. Solo made a miraculous recovery and survived for many more years. I will remember Jill with the way she helped others throughout her life. Her inspiration and legacy will live for many generations ahead, and hopefully with her family.                           Alison Cornell

One of your early consultations with Jill was an emergency appointment on the evening of a certain New Year's Day over 20 years ago, treating our guinea pig with a mystery ailment. Nothing was too much trouble for Jill. Often she would have a student from the Vet School in tow, and I hope they appreciated they were learning from the best. Her loss will be deeply felt by her clients, animal and human alike. Thank you Jill for everything.                Carolyn Greenwood

I had the pleasure of knowing Jill as my Director of Studies at Downing College, but she went above and beyond that role. Supervisions with Jilly are unforgettable, she was an amazing teacher and an even better role model. During her supervisions, I spent most of my time laughing. One of my favourite times with Jilly was when she impersonated a salamander - I had no idea what a salamander was, but now I will never forget! She will be sorely missed and I will always treasure my memories of her.                                 Isabel Davies

We were very grateful to have known Jill. She has been an excellent vet for our generations of ratties over many years. We appreciated the way she explained exactly what was happening so that we learnt so much about rat care. I’ll never forget the time she drew an anatomical drawing of a rat penis in one consultation! Most of all we really appreciated how much she treated and valued each rat as an individual. We will miss her a lot!                     Gen and Lucy

Dear Jilly, One of a kind indeed! I echo John’s sentiment there. What an enormous loss for the veterinary world, particularly for my old Cambridge Vet Group colleagues and your army of loyal clients. Not to mention the chasm left behind for your family, friends, church and the wider community. You were the most engaging and inspirational lecturer during vet school. We lapped up every word when you were at the front of the lecture theatre! I couldn’t quite believe my luck when later in life, I worked alongside you as a colleague at Cambridge Vet Group - a brief but lovely stint in my life. Your sense of fun and no-nonsense attitude was fantastic and always livened up a day at work. You were a font of all knowledge – not just exotic veterinary medicine – but wise words for all occasions. Your anecdotes about your amazing feats of juggling career and child-rearing were incredibly comforting to hear when I was facing my own challenges as a working mother. Sending heartfelt condolences to your family, friends, my old colleagues and your old clients. It was a joy to have known you. Thank you. (Mel Fleming, worked with Jilly at CVG 2016-2017, lectured by Jilly at vet school 1999-2004).                     Mel Fleming

It was with great sadness that I read of the death of Jilly in this week's Veterinary Record. As a student and new graduate working at Radnor Courts in the summer of 1983 she was a great support to me. I will always remember her torn jeans (John Grieve asked that she might wear intact ones when she qualified) and flip flops but primarily her enthusiasm, wit and kindness. She helped me with my first cat pinning, (coming in on a Sunday to do so if I remember correctly), lent me her Alpha Romeo to attend various interviews around East Anglia and advised me on my first medical cases with a sensible and pragmatic approach that I have employed throughout my career. She will be missed by many I'm sure and I would wish to extend my condolences to all her family and friends.                          Tom Clarke

Jill’s consultations were something we looked forward to so much, from the warm and mocking greeting “Big brave Fennel” or “Fennel and her staff”, both so true, to her empathy shown in every consultation. I’ll never forget standing next to my cocker spaniel having a discussion about weight. Comfortable in your size 10 jeans, but then you find yourself heading to the size 12 rail, and then the size 14. Then announcing Fennel was heading to the size 14 rail, But I really didn’t know if she was talking about me or my dog! A wonderful vet and wonderful person.                  Judith Clayton

A real-life superhero. Jill was always prepared to help every person she met in whichever way they needed. From their sick tortoise, last minute exam preparation or just some emotional support she would always find time. Her nuggets of wisdom will remain with me forever and those I need reminding of are carefully stored in Jill's excellent and practical university notes. Remarkable not only for her knowledge but her approach- how to make something exciting, memorable, thought-provoking and how to approach clients in a personable but professional manner. By sharing of all this with us Jill continues her work well into the future as many pets, owners, vets and vet nurses who were not able to meet her benefit from all that she taught us. Jill will always be one of the inspiring people I will ever meet.                            Angharad Thomas (nee Wheeler)

I first met Jill in the mid eighties and was immediately impressed by her knowledge, passion and commitment to the animals in her care. She had great warmth, humour and incredible energy. She inspired confidence and was a huge credit to the practice - we were always in ‘safe’ hands! I have no doubt hers was a life that inspired emulation.                 Elaine Malster

I am truly sorry to hear about Jill’s passing. The veterinary community has lost an outstanding vet and our community an amazing person. I first met Jilly when she taught me anatomy and physiology for veterinary nursing. We both lived in Harston at the time. Jill was a great lecturer my favourite part always being the pictures of dog breeds over the ages, always kept us engaged! Jill ignited passion in everyone, I owe a lot to her! She prepped me for my RVC interview, without her I am not sure I would have become a veterinary surgeon. She also recommended me to John as an ‘experienced’ vet nurse. I spent many university holidays working with the CVG team, all of whom who taught me a lot, especially about exotics and allowed me to financially get through vet school. Jilly was very caring person who was always happy to help. She will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with her family and colleagues.                Clare Low

Jilly was the first academic person I met when arriving in Cambridge from France, and she immediately made me feel I was in the right place. Her supervisions were always a treat in the week. She would teach us the material in a really enjoyable way whilst always conveying bigger values of empathy, passion and friendship. I remember how she took great pleasure in teaching me some English colloquial terms and always paid attention to spelling the trickier words to me, something no other supervisor ever did. Over the weeks, I became addicted to the multiple aspects that made her supervisions so unique, such as her killer phrase "Yes, no or possibly?" that almost became comforting to me. Her lectures were also a great gift. Whilst I regretted her physical presence in the lecture theatre for her exotic lectures, she still managed to communicate a real presence through a computer screen, telling us about birds and rabbits alike. I used to meticulously write down the best moments of her lectures to watch them again later. The time when she took one of her tortoises to show us something and the tortoise peed on the keyboard, it felt like lockdown had never happened and that she was with us, just in another room. Earlier last year, she immediately showed that she was happy to see me in the Cambridge vet group where I was for a placement, and she welcomed me to see some consultations with her, a privileged time I will never forget. I will try my best to pass on the values that you shared with us, Thank you for your wit, your generous heart and the great time spent with you.                            Cecile Thiaucourt

Jilly's supervisions were always given with such enthusiasm that everyone looked forward to them. She showed true passion for her work and for teaching and it made learning enjoyable, no matter how difficult the topic was. If you mentioned her lessons to anyone they would always smile with the thought; she was always everyone's favourite supervisor and it's easy to see why. Jilly has helped countless animals and has inspired countless students, her life's work is truly an inspiration.                              Sam Butler

Along with many fellow graduands of Cambridge Vet School, I have very fond memories of Jilly's anatomy lectures and supervisions with her inimitable style, enthusiasm, warmth and humanity despite these having occurred nearly forty years ago! Jilly has had a huge influence on many fellow professionals at a formative stage in their careers- and lives- and for this we are so grateful.                              Gareth Hateley

I was fortunate enough to be taught by Jilly during my first two years at Cambridge. I was a terrible student, but her inspirational teaching, patience and care got me through. I was more worried about disappointing Jilly than actually having to re-sit! She was truly an inspiration.                                   Alex Hamilton

I have only just heard the news and am desperately sorry for this terrible loss. Jill was an amazing combination of expertise coupled with warmth, a sense of fun and a wonderful way with the people as well as the pets. We brought our rats to her having had a few bad experiences and immediately knew that they, and we, were in safe hands. I am so grateful for everything she did for them, and then for our bunnies. My thoughts are with her family and all those who loved her. Thank you so much, Jill.                                    Wendy Blythe

Jill Pearson was nothing short of an inspiration. I have so many reasons to be thankful to Jill - having received 9 rejections from various vet schools (including two from Cambridge), Jill saw past the paperwork and gave me the chance I fought so desperately for. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am now without her backing and belief. She was a phenomenal teacher, having a very practical and applicable approach to everything that she presented. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and I still recall phrases and snippets of exotic species knowledge (which is quite the testimony given my determination to become an equine vet!). All students that have experienced her CBD lectures will agree that Jill's hilarious ferret impression was simply unforgettable. She was one of the most incredible people, demonstrating unswerving determination and optimism in the face of overwhelming odds. I can't help but feel that the world shines a little less brightly now that she has passed on. A truly wonderful mentor and friend, I know she will be sorely missed by all who had the very great privilege of knowing her.                               Kirsty Hibbs

Jill was a truly wonderful vet, who always treated my cat with great care and compassion. In return he would respond very positively to her. She was the ultimate professional and I had complete confidence in her. She was unchanging in her approach: always so warm, calm and friendly. Thank you, Jill, for everything; you were a lovely, lovely person and a brilliant vet. The world is a much poorer place without you and I miss you very much. R I P Jill.                     Sheila Hayward

Jilly was fabulous teacher - her lessons were full of information, interest and realism interspersed with humour and little life lessons, which I still remember many years later. Her enthusiasm and professionalism will live on in the generation of students that she has inspired. My thoughts and best wishes are with all of her family and colleagues. Kate Green (nee Prestwich)

I have been an RSPCA officer for nearly 30 years and met and worked with Jill on many occasions. Indominatable , frank and fair is how i would descibe Jill. Someone who taught me an awful lot and did a tremendous amount for Animal Welfare. A one off in my book and an absolute pleasure to have worked with. She will have inspired many people and in doing so left behind a great legacy. Chris Nice

I am so sad to know that Jill has gone, she helped us care for two budgies, and then two long haired bunnies, and the odd cat or two, without her help and positive attitude and kind humour I would not have coped. God bless her, there are many creatures out there who will miss her massively, and one of them is me. Andrea Weeding

If you would like to make a donation in Jill's memory, please visit https://www.peasgoodandskeates.co.uk/donate-in-memory/ and search for "Pearson".