Luc Van Dijck - DVM MRCVS
Head Veterinary Surgeon and Principal
Luc graduated from the State University of Ghent, Belgium in 1991. After working for a short period as a locum, he moved to the UK to develop his interest in both small animal and equine medicine.
In 1996, Luc became the owner of the practice he had been working at when his predecessor and friend retired.
Luc’s takes a special interest in small animal soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery. He also dedicates a lot of his time to studying and applying endoscopic (keyhole) diagnostic and surgical techniques.
At home Luc has two dogs; a Parson’s Jack Russell terrier called Elsie and a black and tan Lurcher named Digby. Elsie was born deaf and adopted by Luc at 5 weeks of age before being trained to respond to some basic ‘canine sign language.’ The two dogs also share their home with a ginger tomcat, sometimes known as ‘the ginger ninja.’ Luc also has an elderly (19 year old) black and white tomcat named Alfie who now lives at the surgery, as he struggles with the stairs at Luc’s apartment.
Outside of work Luc enjoys gardening, wood work and when he has the time, walking in the country with his dogs.
Hilary Swift – VN
Hilary joined us as a Saturday helper in 1977 and has worked her way up the ladder to become Head Nurse. She enjoys all aspects of her job particularly orthopaedics, physiotherapy and Tens therapy. She also has a keen interest in Homeopathic remedies and treatments.
Hilary has recently completed a course with Lintbells which covers all aspects of pet health and nutrition.
At home Hilary has 4 ferrets and 4 Springer Spaniel dogs. The dogs require lots of walking and training which she enjoys doing alongside her father.
When she’s not working Hilary’s hobbies include gardening and dog walking.
Joanne Allcock – VN
Joanne joined us as a trainee nurse in 2000, and was delighted to qualify as a registered veterinary nurse in 2005.
Although she enjoys all aspects of her job role, Joanne finds the variety of cases she sees challenging, which ultimately can be very rewarding.
13 years ago Jo fell in love with a 6 year old male black and white cat which we had rescued at the surgery. A few days later she named him Dylan and took him home. At the time Jo already had a family cat called Hambug, and luckily both cats got on well. Unfortunately Hambug passed away in 2009 after a short illness. Dylan, now around 13 and a half years old, still enjoys a very active lifestyle. He patrols his domain on a daily basis and always makes sure he’s home for his favourite time of the day; TEATIME!
Outside of work Joanne’s hobbies include swimming, walking and socialising with friends and family.
Sarah McGrail – VN
Sarah has been with us since 2002 and obtained her qualification in 2009. She finds her job thoroughly enjoyable and particularly likes being in the lab processing blood and urine tests, investigating slides under the microscope and diagnosing infections. Sarah feels we are very lucky to have our own laboratory on site as it allows us to speed up treating animals.
Sarah would love to have her own pets at home but is currently in rented accommodation which does not allow any animals. At some stage in the future however Sarah would like to own a giant rabbit.
Sarah’s main hobbies include Ballroom and Latin dancing, exploring natural caves, camping and nature walking; including conquering mountains such as Snowdon.
Pauline Garside – VN
Pauline joined us in 2001 as a receptionist, but it wasn’t long until she decided to make the transition to veterinary nurse.
In March 2013 Pauline completed a course with Lintbells on various aspects of improving animal health and wellbeing; she’s always happy to answer any questions our patients have.
At work Pauline particularly enjoys assisting laparoscopic (key hole) procedures. She also has a keen interest in animal behaviour and nutritional topics.
At home Pauline, her husband and her son are proud owners of 4 Springer Spaniels, an elderly cat and 2 rescued ferrets.
Pauline’s favourite hobby is walking and training her dogs.
Mary has been with our practice since she left school in 1980. She joined us as a trainee nurse but moved over to our reception in 1990, progressing to become our head receptionist. Welcoming both old and new clients is something Mary particularly likes about her role.
Mary’s hobbies include travelling and going to the theatre. She also enjoys taking wildlife photos when she’s out and about with friends in the countryside.
Unfortunately Mary suffers from quite severe arthritis which makes it hard for her to walk dogs, she has therefore chosen not to have any more dogs of her own. However Mary used to be the proud owner of 2 big black male Labradors named Jet and Radar.
Every so often Mary likes to house and pet-sit for her friends, neighbours and colleagues.
Part Time Receptionist
Shirley enjoys all aspects of her role on our reception. She also takes a keen interest in observing operations and procedures that take place in our treatment rooms and theatre.
Last year Shirley completed an animal care course; she has recently started the follow up course.
At home Shirley has two rescue Greyhounds called Bernard and Dottie, and a cat named Mollie. An abandoned cat has also decided to recently move in with Shirley and her family.
Shirley is a self-confessed animal lover and couldn’t think of anything else she’d rather do that work with them on a regular basis.
Diane has been working part-time as the evening receptionist at our practice since 2009. She enjoys meeting members of the public and their lovely, and varied pets. Since Diane started working for us she has gained a wealth of experience in advising our clients regarding their pet’s needs.
In 2011 Diane lost her beloved Bernese Mountain dog Molly to bone cancer. Four months ago Diane got a new puppy, another Bernese Mountain dog who she called Ellie. Although she is full of mischief, Ellie is adorable.
Outside of work Diane enjoys fell walking, going to the gym, caravanning and entertaining friends with gourmet meals and fine wines.
My name is Paula Gaster and I am a new receptionist at the surgery. I started my training here in May 2014.
I have worked on reception for different companies since leaving school in 2002. During this time I developed
a keen interest in costumer care relations and have also gained experience in using social media in a business
From a young age I remember that we always had pet cats when I lived at home with my parents.
We now have a young female, dwarf lop-eared rabbit, called Jasmine, at home as a pet for my two daughters who are now
4 and 24 months old. "
Amanda has been working with us since 2012. However, prior to her role with us she was familiar with our team as her mother, Pauline Garside has been one of our nurses for some time.
Amanda’s role within the practice is to deal with all of the accounts and general admin. She enjoys working with the staff around her, and describes our surgery atmosphere as ‘a very warm, welcoming and friendly workplace.’
At home, as well as having 3 children and a husband, Mandy has 2 pet dogs. Tess is a 6 and a half year old female Staffie. Then there is Lexie who is a 9 month old female Beagle who really likes to run amok.
Outside of work Mandy enjoys walking the dogs, particularly around the Lakes where the family takes caravanning breaks. Any other free time is usually spent supporting her children’s many activities including her 2 daughter’s Morris Dancing Competitions in which they excel.