Our Staff and Pets

At Chestnuts you will always find a friendly face, whether it is one of our receptionists, vets or nurses. To find out more about any of our staff please click on the relevant section below.

Paul Walden

Paul Walden, Vet

Paul qualified from the Royal Veterinary  College in 1989 and has been with our practice since 1993. He became a partner in 1995.

Paul has a wealth of experience in all aspects of veterinary medicine and surgery, being particularly interested in the orthopaedic and soft tissue surgical cases. He is heavily involved in the management of the practice, and is responsible for keeping our website up-to-date with the latest information.

Away from work, Paul enjoys participating in and watching sports, being a keen skier and badminton player. Paul is also kept very busy with his two young sons.

 

Michelle White

Michelle White, Vet

Michelle qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in June 1995 and has worked at Chestnuts ever since. She became a partner in 2000. She has a particular interest in all aspects of feline medicine and surgery, along with the special care required for critical and intensive-care patients. She frequently attends national conferences to keep up-to-date with the most current and state-of-the art techniques, ideas and equipment available to us. Michelle is also keen to promote an understanding of the relationship between behaviour and disease, and how this can improve the quality of life of our patients and their owners!

Michelle is heavily involved in the organisation of the practice, ensuring we strive to maintain and exceed current RCVS practice standard schemes. As a trained nursing assessor, she also has responsibility for the training of student veterinary nurses.

At home, Michelle has a tabby cat called Archie and a very demanding Siamese called Ernie. She is currently learning Portuguese and enjoys travelling to put her language skills to good use!

 

Fiona Smith

Fiona Smith, Vet

Fiona joined Chestnuts in 2005, and became a director in 2013. She graduated from Cambridge University, being awarded a double first for her degree, along with various university prizes including those for academic studies, pathology and small animal medicine. She is interested in all aspects of soft tissue surgery, medicine and imaging but has a particular interest in cardiology, performing many of the cardiac assessments including ECGs and doppler echocardiograms for the practice. She was awarded her post-graduate RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Medicine (CertSAM) in 2010 and is currently studying for the CertAVP (Cardiology) certificate. Fiona is currently on the RCVS list of Advanced Practitioners in Small Animal Medicine. She is interested in complicated medical cases, and performs many of the endoscopic investigations at the practice (both bronchoscopy and gastroduodenoscopy procedures).

Fiona is a member of the BSAVA, the BVA, and the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society, and regularly attends local and national conferences. She is actively involved with the East Anglian regional BSAVA committee, helping to organise talks by renowned speakers in the veterinary field for local colleagues and being secretary of the committee. She is a mentor for local veterinary surgeons who are continuing with further study for their PGCert in Medicine or Surgery. She is keen to promote animal care in the local community, regularly organising and running workshops in local schools, and speaking at local careers conventions to help guide budding students in veterinary and veterinary nursing careers. She also organises and supervises the placements we offer for veterinary students at our practice.

In her spare time, Fiona is a keen pianist, and also enjoys playing alto saxophone in a local jazz band. She has also recently taken up playing the drums! She also enjoys horse-riding and photography (not at the same time!) and is kept busy by her very active Springer Spaniel called Daisy.

 

Cathy Curtis

Cathy Curtis

Dermatology Specialist (Referrals)

Cathy qualified from the RVC, London in 1989. After a few years working in general practice, she worked and travelled abroad for 10 months before returning to the RVC to undertake a dermatology residency. She gained the RCVS Diploma in Veterinary Dermatology and was appointed a RCVS-recognised specialist in dermatology in 1997. She now holds specialist dermatology clinics at the Hoe Lane practice twice a week. Cathy's outside interests include foreign languages and cooking, although her two young children take up most of her spare time!

 

Julia Newman

Julia Newman

Julia qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in 1994, and initially started her career with us here at Chestnuts. Following this, Julia expanded her breadth of experience at a number of different practices but in 2003 she returned to us in Hertfordshire. Following the birth of her two children, Julia has continued to work with us on a part-time basis. She enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine, but has a particular interest in surgery. She has also completed training in acupuncture and runs regular acupuncture clinics at our Hoe Lane branch on Thursdays and Fridays.

At home, Julia has young springer x labrador puppy called Maddie, and two young kittens called Big Bad Billy, and Ruby.

 

Chris Snow

chris 2

Prior to qualifying from the Royal Veterinary College, Chris completed a degree in zoology and a masters in wild animal biology. Whilst being interested in all aspects of veterinary medicine, Chris has a special interest in exotics and looks forward to expanding this department of our practice.

Whenever the opportunity arises he enjoys travelling especially to destinations with tropical seas where he is able to snorkel and scuba dive. In his spare time he enjoys playing a variety of sports, mainly football, squash and badminton.

At home he has two cats, called Elmo and Betty.

 

Jackie BaillieJackie Baillie, Vet

Jackie graduated from Glasgow University and joint us at Chestnuts in 2005 following a year in mixed practice in Essex. Jackie has experience in all aspects of veterinary medicine and is a versatile surgeon enjoying both soft tissue and orthopaedic surgical procedures. Since working at Chestnuts, Jackie has adopted a scruffy stray cat, Molly.

Jackie has worked part-time for us at Chestnuts since returning to work following the birth of her third child.

 

Melissa Heaney

Melissa graduated from University College Dublin in 2011, and since qualifying she has concentrated on small animal practice and has gained a wealth of experience in first opinion practice.  She joined Chestnuts in 2016.  Melissa has a  special interest in soft tissue surgery, having completed a certificate in small animal surgery in 2014, but she also enjoys the work up and treatment of medicine cases. In her spare time she enjoys walking in the countryside, music and travelling. She lives locally with her two rescue tabby cats, Katniss and Rue, and hopes to adopt a dog in the not so distant future.

 

Josh Hannabuss

Josh graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2015 and joined Chestnuts after a short spell travelling. He is interested in all aspects of veterinary medicine, but has a particular interest in soft tissue surgery and cardiology.

Out of work, Josh is a keen cook, musician and photographer.

 

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Hannah Forrest

Hannah Forrest

Human Resources and Training Manager

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Hannah joined us at Chestnuts in 1995 and commenced her formal nurse training in 1999. Shortly after qualifying in 2002, she was promoted to the position of Head Nurse. Hannah plays a pivotal role in the management of our nursing team and having qualified as a student nurse assessor in 2003, is actively involved in the training of nurses within the practice. Hannah has a wealth of experience in all aspects of medical and surgical veterinary nursing. She also plays a big role in promoting animal welfare in the local community, helping to organise and run workshops for local children.

Hannah has a love of travel and adventure, having climbed mountains such as Kilimanjaro, and completed expeditions including the Inca Trail. She is also a keen skier in her spare time. in 2012, Hannah gave birth to her first child, a lovely baby girl called Lydia. She has now returned to work part-time after her second daughter, Thea, was born, and is heavily involved in nurse training and human resources within our practice.  

 

Claire Burt

claire 1

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Senior Nurse 

Claire joined the practice in 1990, originally being based at our Fore Street Surgery in Hertford. She completed her formal qualifications in 2000 . Claire has a wealth of knowledge in the veterinary field, and is experienced in all aspects of medical and surgical veterinary nursing. She has also completed further training in the specialist advice required to guide our clients on animal nutrition and plays a pivotal role being in charge of our pharmacy and on-site laboratory.

Claire has a spaniel called Kojak. She now works part-time, being kept busy with her two young children, Harrison and Matilda.

 

Helen King

Helen King

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Senior Nurse 

Helen joined us in 1996 and following a short break to raise a family, we have welcomed her back on a part-time basis. Helen is experienced in all aspects of medical and surgical veterinary nursing, and is head of department in medical nursing. She has recently completed an in-depth anaesthesia course with the Royal Veterinary College, which is one of her particular interests.

At home, Helen has a gorgeous black Labrador called Wilma, who you may see sometimes with her at work. 

 

Mel Berry

Mel Berry

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Mel started to work at our Hertford Fore Street branch in 2002 where she completed her Animal Nursing qualification. She transferred to our Hoe Lane branch in 2004 to complete her formal Veterinary Nursing training, and she qualified in 2007. Mel enjoys all aspects of veterinary nursing and has a particular depth of knowledge regarding the special care of exotic species. Mel also takes a special interest in the laboratory and microscopy component of veterinary nursing, and the role this plays in the diagnosis of various diseases.

Mel now works part-time with us following the birth of her daughter, Ruby.

Mel owns a cat called Izzie, and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Harvey, who sometimes comes into work with her. She also has three ferrets who often accompany us on our school visits teaching children about the work we do caring for animals. Mel also regularly looks after abandoned or ill ducklings in the Spring, which she then releases onto her parents’ pond.

 

Carolyn Burton

Carolyn Burton

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Carolyn joined us at Chestnuts whilst completing her formal placements in practice, during her foundation degree in Veterinary Nursing. Following qualifying and registering in 2009, she commenced a full-time position with us at our Hoe Lane branch. Carolyn has an enviable knowledge on the specific care of exotic patients, having owned a variety of such pets herself, from reptiles through to rats, degus, guinea pigs, rabbits and gerbils to name a few! She has also attended courses dealing specifically with the veterinary care of these species to expand her experience in this field and has recently been awarded her City and Guilds Certificate in Veterinary Nursing of Exotic species.

Carolyn also has a special interest in anaesthesia and the essential role our nurses play in the constant monitoring of surgical patients, and also is developing her knowledge base of the particular requirements of our cardiology patients. Carolyn is head of department in surgical nursing and is a nurse training assessor.

At home, Carolyn also owns two very bouncy Labradors called Riley and Amber.

 

Jane Weiss

Jane Weiss

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Jane is a qualified Veterinary Nurse. She started working at our Fore Street branch in 1984 as a young girl fulfilling her dream of working with animals. Over the years she has built up a wealth of experience and is a familiar and friendly face for many of our longstanding clients. She also has a keen interest in weight clinics and is always willing to offer advice and tips on how to help our pets maintain a slim waist-line. She now works part-time as she has a young family. 

Mrs Beckham, Red and Tango are her three lovely fluffy cats. She is a keen netball player, running 2 teams in local leagues

Sophie McKenzie

Student Veterinary Nurse

Sophie joined Chestnuts in 2015 and is currently training to be a veterinary nurse. Sophie has worked previously as an animal care assistant in other veterinary practices and is now pleased to be enrolled on a training scheme with the College of Animal Welfare,  the first steps to enable her to achieve her dream of qualifying as a veterinary nurse.

Outside of work, Sophie is a keen horse-rider and has three adorable pugs, Alfie, Bruno and Buddy, and a cat, Penny, who she adopted from the practice.

 

Rachel Barbrook

Rachel B

Student Veterinary Nurse

Rachel joined Chestnuts in 2015, and is currently training to be a veterinary nurse. Rachel has had a varied career to date, initially focusing on her love of horses, having completed a degree in Equine Science from Aberystwyth University, and worked with dressage horses in the UK, in New Zealand and in Maryland. Recently, Rachel has been employed at a referral veterinary practice working as an animal care assistant during the nights. She has now decided to concentrate on small animal work and has enrolled with the College of Animal Welfare to train to become a veterinary nurse.

Rachel is a keen dressage rider, spending much of her spare time with her horse, Kracker. She also has three special dogs at home, a Springer called Dixie, a Labrador called Milo and a cheeky Dachshund called Toby.

 

Megan Kennedy

Student Veterinary Nurse

Megan joined the team as one of our student nurses in September 2015 and is currently on track to qualify in July 2016. So far she is enjoying all aspects of nursing, with a keen interest in medical nursing.

Megan enjoys going for long walks with her 8 year old poodle x shih tzu, Poppy.  She also has a keen interest in performing arts and hopes to contine this as a hobby in her spare time.

 

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Julie Sewell

Julie Sewell

Customer Care Team Leader

Julie joined our team in 2015 in a new position created with the aim of uniting our whole customer care team, so making our clients' experience as pleasant and smooth as possible. Julie has a wealth of customer care and team leading experience having worked in this field within the world of banking and for the emergency services. Julie is now enjoying combining these skills with her love of animals and really enjoys the daily contact she has with our clients and their well loved pets. At home, Julie has a Border Collie dog called Charlie, a very bright dog who thrives on mental stimulation and meeting new people, and loves long walks in the local countryside.

 

Jacqui Butler

Jacqui Butler

Senior Receptionist

Jacqui started work at our practice 27 years ago and consequently has seen a huge variety of patients and their conditions over the years. She left work to raise two children, but returned to our Hoe Lane branch in 1994 as our Head Receptionist.

At home, Jacqui has a bearded collie called Joshua and a cheeky Shih Tzu called Bobbie. She has a particular soft spot for British Short-haired cats and recently Otto has joined her family  - a very naughty silver tabby kitten!

 

Jacqui Davey

Jacqui Davey

Accounts/Administrations Officer

Jacqui joined our practice in 2003 and is in charge of our accounts department. She also plays a pivotal role liasing between our different departments. She shares her desk with Scooter, our resident cat who you may see over the counter in our Hoe Lane surgery! At home, Jacqui has a lovely cat called Bubbles.

 

Georgie Seaman

Receptionist

Georgie joined our practice as a receptionist in 2000. She has a caring approach to all our patients, but has a special bond with greyhounds – actively supporting the Greyhound Trust in her spare time, by walking and helping with fundraising.

 

Leigh Lawrence

Leigh Lawrence

Receptionist

Leigh has been working at Chestnuts since 2002 and has a menagerie of pets at home including a rabbit and guinea pigs. Leigh has a vast amount of experience in the husbandry and care of such pets and is always willing to advise and offer tips to our clients on the special care of these smaller patients! She spends much of her time out of work offering a home boarding service for rabbits and guinea pigs when their families are away on holiday.

 

Mo Lloyd

Mo Lloyd

Receptionist

Mo has been with our practice since 1999 and is heavily involved in processing and resolving problems relating to completion of insurance claims applications on  behalf of our clients. She also plays an important role in credit control, and has been pivotal in helping us to set up our new Chestnuts Health Club, providing a cost-effective way to spread the payments for preventative health care. Mo has a cheeky little Yorkshire Terrier called Archie, who you may see in reception from time to time.

 

Julie BabbageJulie Babbage

Receptionist

Julie joined us at our Hoe Lane branch in 2008. Not new to the field of medicine, Julie had previously had a very successful career as a ‘human’ nurse, before leaving work to have a family. She now enjoys combining working in a medical environment with day-to-day contact with animals as well!

Julie has a lovely cat at home called Wilf, and has a particular love of the ginger cats that come into the clinic!

 

Debbie Tydeman

Receptionist

Debbie joined our reception team at Chestnuts in 2016, having had extensive administrative and secretarial experience before, including having previously worked as a veterinary receptionist. At home Debbie's children have 'flown the nest', but she has two large dogs who keep her busy, a standard poodle named Harley and a Doberman named Della.

 

 

Scooter Scooter

Scooter is our adopted practice cat who lives with us at Hoe lane. She broke her back after falling from a flat window as a kitten and we gave her a home as we can look after her here.

 

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Mel and her dog Harvey
Mel and Harvey
Fiona and her dog Daisy
Fiona and Daisy
Claire and her dog Kojak
Claire and Kojak
Scooter
Scooter, Hoe Lane Surgery's pet

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