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Colleagues, vet clients, friends and family shocked by sudden death of talented young vet Martina Baluff of Forres

By Garry McCartney

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Martina Baluff, was always smiling.
Martina Baluff, was always smiling.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a veterinary surgeon from Forres who died in an accident while hiking at Ballachulish in Glencoe.

Martina Baluff (33) of Balnaferry had been employed at Moray Coast Vets (MCV) since 2013 and was well-liked and respected by her colleagues, vet clients and friends.

All MCV branches were closed as a mark of respect on the day of her funeral at Andrew Smith Family funeral directors on Tuesday, May 25.

MCV director and veterinary surgeon, Mark Pearson, said: “Martina was remarkable. She was a really good vet with a huge client base who all wanted to see her. She was popular with both small animal and large animal clients. She was so enthusiastic and skilled at her job. A number of farmers have commented on how she was always smiling.

“Martina was thoughtful and befriended anyone who wanted company. She would spend time with them – be that simply hanging out, having a cup of tea or exercising.

“She was considerate and had a wide network of friends.

“She played an important role in the community, had a well-developed range of skills and a great love of the Scottish outdoors, where she enjoyed hiking and doing Munros.

“Martina also enjoyed running, and recently completed a marathon course marked out by our friend and colleague, Andy Stevens. She only recently took up running, which she did on her own and with friends.”

Martina was born to Wolfgang and Irmgard Balluff in Stuttgart, Germany. She was the third of four sisters, Bettina, Claudia and Michaela.

An honour student at school, she spent extra time in the science lab and taught herself to play the guitar.

Martina loved being outdoors on family holidays to Bavaria, and on travels across Europe.

Her love for animals led her, aged 16, to deciding to be a vet. When she left high school Martina attended Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich to study veterinary science as a scholar of the German Merit Foundation.

With an interest in Scotland, during her final year at Munich she travelled to Forres for work experience at Moray Coast Vet Group. Her 11 weeks there left a lasting impression, but she returned to Munich to graduate as a veterinary surgeon.

Martina returned to Scotland in the spring of 2013, working for a lambing season on a local farm. In June, 2013 she started work at MCV, leaving only for a sabbatical in New Zealand from September 2016 to March 2017.

Martina’s empathy and wicked sense of humour were important attributes for the job. Always busy, she was quick to support anyone who needed help if they were low, and just as quick to share good times.

Through her love of the Scottish landscape Martina began hiking the Munros, mountain-biking, kayaking, skiing and running. She would go for a walk anywhere, with any of her many friends. But she never stopped hating Scottish midges.

She was hiking in Glencoe at the time of her death on Tuesday, May 11.

Although settled in Forres, Martina’s family and friends in Germany were always in her thoughts.

Donations in memory of Martina should be made to Glencoe Mountain Rescue and Vetlife via www.justgiving.com/remember/868914/Martina-Balluff or forwarded to the funeral directors.

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