Obituary

This is our obituary for John which was published in the Veterinary Record on Friday 1st February 2019. In loving memory.

John Charles Codner was born in Clevedon on 19/08/1948. He was educated at Bristol Cathedral School and at the University of Liverpool where he graduated with a BVSc in 1971. John spent his first year in practice in Devon, where he developed his skills as a large animal vet. He settled in Cheltenham in 1972 where he joined the practice, Hull and Eaton, which later became Dragon vets now based on Cheltenham racecourse due to the inspired vision of John and his veterinary partner David Chalkley.

John will be remembered as a passionate, accomplished farm animal and equine vet, where his motivation was always directed toward the welfare of the patient and a positive outcome for the client. John’s dedication made him an inspirational teacher; he would think nothing of providing advice to more junior colleagues at any hour of the day or night, always in his typically cheerful manner. John was an unobtrusive and thoughtful man with sound clinical and business instincts and had a particular talent for quiet but effective collaboration with his colleagues.

Over the past 30 years, John made a strong contribution toward the profile of horse racing in Cheltenham, having been the head vet at Cheltenham racecourse for many years. As with his approach to his routine large animal and equine work, his aim was to work towards the highest standards of animal welfare and veterinary involvement possible. One of his adventures through his racing connections took him to the Czech Republic where he, as part of a panel of 3 vets, became an official veterinary attendant at the legendary Pardubice race. Along with Edward Gillespie and the team at Cheltenham racecourse these experiences led to the development of the now famous Cross-country race at Cheltenham.

Away from work, John enjoyed sailing immensely and spent many hours working on his boat and sailing and racing across the channel and around the Solent. He applied the same quiet determination and desire to excel to this serious hobby as he did to his veterinary career, and his sailing buddies saw him as “one to try and beat”. Yet as with his clinical practice he was humble, helpful to others and collaborative to the last.

Lover of “The Shipping Forecast”, pottering and fixing things, thinking things over and finding a solution. Loather of the sat-nav and any time keeping devices. A wonderful man who will be missed by many, especially those who looked forward to spending his retirement years with him. John was a devoted family man and our thoughts go to his wife, Anne, his daughters and his extended family.


Book your visit online