It’s not every day a past pupil returns to his school almost 80 years after passing through its corridors.
But that’s precisely what Dr Harold Browne did recently as he popped in to see his old St Mel’s College stamping ground.
Back then when the retired surgeon was still in shorts and v-neck jumpers, all the talk was of economic strife tinged by the onset of World War II.
And while fiscal struggles may have resurfaced in today’s sphere, there was little evidence of such talk during his recent visit to St Mel’s.
It was a far cry from the days when Dr Browne and his eight siblings sold their family farm in Clonbroney for just £400 and moved into Longford town.
His late parents, Fred and Nellie invested heavily in their children’s education, pledges which ensured all eight went on to third level.
Dr Browne himself, opted for UCD and in partuicular medicine. It was choice which opened may doors for the Longfordian.
He was among the first Irish surgeons to be awarded a fellowship to train at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota before returning to Ireland as a consultant surgeon at a Dublin Hospital.
His in-depth knowlege and expertise led him into teaching first in a part time capacity and then as a Surgeon Prosector at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI).
That came as the Arsenal fanatic hung up his stethoscope in 1987, a title which followed his election as President of the Irish Medical Council.
Accolades are, in truth, a common feature of Dr Browne’s long and distinguished career.
Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons, Honorary Fellowhip of RCSI, the College medal and the naming of the Medical Council Board Room and operating theatre in the Bon Secours Hospital after him, are just a flavour.
Not a bad life’s work for a former St Mel’s student.