Impact and LegacyStudent Support

Vet Jane Shipsey got so much from her six years at Edinburgh that she jumped at the chance to give something back.

It’s a busy Friday morning in Newcastle’s PDSA Pet Aid Hospital. The waiting room is filled with vexed owners reassuring their animals in hushed tones. In the surgery, a vet is tending to the wounded hind leg of a sedated dog while mentally blocking out the barks coming from the canine recovery room next door. A nearby white board itemises the cat spays, hip operations and fracture repairs they’ve got lined up for the day.

In the centre of the room, Jane Shipsey is posing for the camera with her colleague’s dog Cinder. The veterinary surgeon has been working for the PDSA since 2000 – and here at the hospital for 18 months – and it’s a job she loves. Beaming a big smile, she looks like she’s in her element, but she knows she wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for the skills she mastered in her six years of study at the University of Edinburgh.

“Academically, it’s a very strong university,” says Shipsey, who graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 1993. “The Dick Vet is world renowned and has a great history and sense of belonging. We see a lot of vets from Edinburgh here and they’re very impressive.”

Her skills proved more valuable still when she recently won a competition through the Worldwide Veterinary Service to go on an 11-day working holiday to India. Prowling leopards and charging elephants notwithstanding, she and her friend Sarah Archard, a fellow Edinburgh graduate, had a fantastic time visiting tea plantations and tiger reserves in between neutering stray dogs in remote villages and helping treat cattle and goats. “We were able to spend two weeks reminiscing about our time at the Dick Vet and at the University of Edinburgh, while also doing a lot of veterinary work in rural India,” she says.

Her lifelong friendship with Archard is just one of the many things she has to thank Edinburgh for. It was here she met her husband Dean Shipsey, a medical professional, as well as the mutual friend who introduced them and with whom they still holiday every autumn. A keen sportswoman, she has fond memories of travelling with the hockey team to Madrid and Amsterdam.

“I thought, well actually, I do want to give something back,” she says. “At the same time, I decided to set up a direct debit for the Edinburgh Fund which helped with a lot of funding for overseas tours when I did sport at university. I felt I had a lot of opportunities at Edinburgh and I wanted students to still have those opportunities and for it not to be based on circumstances.”

 

Going to university showed me that life wasn’t just about work. There were other opportunities to be had. It’s not just about your academic achievement, it’s about meeting people, communicating, doing things you haven’t done before,”

Jane Shipney

Jane Shipsey talks about her memories of the Dick Vet and her decision to give a legacy to the University.

It was for these reasons she chose to include the University in her will. After they had children, she and her husband thought it best to prepare for all eventualities. When their solicitor asked if she’d like to include anybody else in her will, she remembered all the good times she’d had courtesy of the University and the Sports Union.

“I thought, well actually, I do want to give something back,” she says. “At the same time, I decided to set up a direct debit for the Edinburgh Fund which helped with a lot of funding for overseas tours when I did sport at university. I felt I had a lot of opportunities at Edinburgh and I wanted students to still have those opportunities and for it not to be based on circumstances.”

Giving a legacy is a way of supporting future generations of students whether or not you are in a position to donate during your lifetime. Your will can stipulate whether the gift should be directed to a specific cause or allocated by the University to an area of particular need. “I want the university to be able to make sure that university life is full,” says Shipsey who, working for a charity herself, knows how important legacies can be. “It makes me feel good that I’m giving something back because I gained a lot from university life. I’m a jobbing veterinary surgeon working in a clinic in Newcastle, but I can still contribute and feel like my contribution is worthwhile.”

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