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

Director and Veterinary Surgeon

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 sons.

 

Michelle White

Director and Veterinary Surgeon

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. She also has initiated and leads the laparoscopic surgery service that we offer at the surgery, including the provision of key-hole ovariectomy surgeries. 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 is learning Portuguese and enjoys travelling to put her language skills to good use!

 

Fiona Smith

Director and Veterinary Surgeon

Fiona Smith, Vet

Fiona joined Chestnuts in 2005, and became a director in 2013. She graduated as a scholar from St Catharine's College, 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, as well as the Nelson prize for contribution to collegiate life. 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 the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in 2017, which, by examination, was specifically designated to Veterinary Cardiology (CertAVP(VC)) in 2018.  Fiona is currently on the RCVS list of Advanced Practitioners in both Small Animal Medicine and Veterinary Cardiology, and is on the RCVS assessor panel for admitting other experienced vets to this status in the field of cardiology. She is interested in the challenge of complicated medical cases, particularly those patients with heart conditions. She is currently completing her studies for two further certificates - in diagnostic imaging, and veterinary business management, and is due to complete these early in 2021. 

Fiona is a member of the BSAVA, the BVA, the Small Animal Medicine Society, 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 having served as 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 and sits on the BSAVA student support and administration committee as a mentor representative.

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 as well as playing in a role in ensuring the practice stays at the forefront of clinical standards as assessed by the RCVS practice standards scheme.

Fiona is also the veterinary advisor to the Rumba Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting projects which make a direct impact on the health of cats and dogs.

In her spare time, Fiona is a keen pianist, plays alto saxophone in a local jazz band, enjoys horse-riding, and loves trying to get the perfect photographic shot of pets and wildlife. 

 

Cathy Curtis

Cathy Curtis

Specialist in Veterinary Dermatology (Referrals)

Cathy qualified from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, in 1989. After a few years working in general practice, she worked and traveled abroad for 10 months before returning to the RVC to undertake a dermatology residency, gaining the RCVS Diploma in Veterinary Dermatology and being appointed a RCVS-recognised specialist in dermatology in 1997. She now holds specialist dermatology clinics at Chestnut Vets, in addition to several other surgeries in the Herts and Essex area.  Recently, Cathy launched a video consulting service which allows clients from anywhere in the UK to consult with her directly, and to show her their pet's skin lesions from the comfort of their own home via their smartphone. More details of this can be found on Cathy's website www.skinspecialistvet.com

Cathy's other interests include cooking, playing the flute, foreign travel and she is a keen skier.  She has two teenage sons and a cat called Toby!

 

Melissa Heaney

Veterinary Surgeon

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 her General Practitioner Certificate in Small Animal Surgery (GPCertSAS) awarded by the International School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ISVPS) in 2014, as well as her Postgraduate Certificate (PgC) from Harper Adams University (HAU). She also enjoys the work up and treatment of medicine cases. Melissa is also developing our orthopaedics services, and can now offer the modified maquet procedure (MMP) for surgical management of cranial cruciate ligament ruptures - a common knee injury in dogs. 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 her Schnauzer Roxy.

Barbara Costa

Veterinary Surgeon

Barbara graduated from The University of Nottingham with honours in 2020. She joined Chestnut Vets soon after finishing her studies. Whilst at university she published a research project on calcium disorders in dogs and cats and presented this at the BSAVA Congress 2020, which was shortlisted for one of the Clinical Research Abstract Awards.

Barbara enjoys the variety that the job provides and is really enjoying building client relationships. Barbara particularly enjoys surgery but also enjoys working up medical cases. Barbara also has an interest in birds and has a rescue African Grey at home along with her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

In her free time she enjoys walking her dogs, cooking, dancing and skiing.

Caroline Wheeler 

Veterinary Surgeon

Information coming soon.

Katrina McCrory

Veterinary Surgeon

Katrina joined our Chestnuts team in 2020 having worked in small animal general practice since graduating the same year from the University of Surrey with honours. She has a keen interest in internal medicine and clinical pathology, having been an active member of the student Veterinary Pathology society when at university. Whilst studying, Katrina performed a research study on the GPS movements of a herd of red deer in Surrey.

Outside of work, Katrina enjoys music and arts, and has an elderly Jack Russell Terrier.

Julia Newman

Veterinary Surgeon (part time)

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 called Maddie and a cat called Big Bad Billy.

 

Jackie Baillie

Veterinary Surgeon  (part time)

Jackie Baillie, Vet

Jackie graduated from Glasgow University and joined 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.

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

 

 

 

Talia Teren

Veterinary Surgeon (part time)

Since qualifying from Cambridge Veterinary School in 2002, Talia has gained a wealth of experience in small animal general practices across the South East England, developing her particular interests in medicine, imaging, dentistry and ophthalmology. In 2010, Talia was awarded a General Practitioner's Certificate in Small Animal Medicine from the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies.

Keen to engage in charity work, Talia has volunteered for the SPCA in Fiji, operating at the local facilities and travelling to remote locations to offer services, support and education. Currently, Talia is an education volunteer for the RSPB, National Trust, and Natural History Museum, encouraging young people in the community to engage with an enjoy our wonderful natural world.

She is kept on her toes by her young son, but somehow still finds the time to enjoy playing tennis, horse riding, surfing, skiing, and most importantly, relaxing with her beautiful cat, Jonah. 
 

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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 and completed her standardisation with the College of Animal Welfare to keep her status up to date, is actively involved in the training of nurses within the practice. She has also completed a Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management, and is integral in supporting and leading our team in her human resources role. Hannah has a wealth of experience in all aspects of medical and surgical veterinary nursing. She also plays a big part 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.

 

Carolyn BurtonCarolyn Burton

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Fulltime Senior 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 a very bouncy Labrador called Riley.  

Stephanie Carter

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Stephanie qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2019 with a BSc Honours degree in Veterinary Nursing. Her love of nursing was piqued in 2015 when she went to South Africa and worked with a veterinary surgeon both in a veterinary clinic, and travelling around different game reserves. She was lucky enough to work with all of the big five - elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards and rhinos. Back in England, Stephanie has developed an interest in schedule III surgical nursing and medical nursing and is keen to expand on the nursing clinics we are starting to offer at Chestnuts.
At home, Stephanie has a lovely tabby cat called Matty.

Carole Harvey

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Carol has been nursing since 1998 and became a listed veterinary nurse in 2003. She enjoys all aspects of nursing, but takes particular pride in her role helping animals to recover from illnesses as well as supporting owners in feeling calm and supported during these stressful times. At home, she has two dogs, Molly a Jack Russell Terrier, and Tilly a Chihuahua. In her spare time she enjoys swimming and dressmaking.

Emma Disley

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Emma qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2019, having already gained approximately five years experience in a veterinary hospital setting where she contributed to many aspects of the hospital's provisions, from patient and client care, assisting with surgical patients, night shifts, as well as the radioactive iodine section where hypothyroid cats were treated. Her favourite job aspect is patient care where she can bond with individual patients and recover them from illnesses - she is passionate about how a close bond with patients can play a big role to help in the healing process. She has a calming nature, and has introduced the playing of calming music into our kennel facilities to help settle hospitalised patients. Emma is invaluable in supporting the nervous patients in our clinic who require just that little extra TLC. Emma also has a special interest in physiotherapy and is hoping to learn more about this in the near future that can be put to good use in facilitating the recovery of our patients.

At home, Emma also has her own cat, called Tinks.  

Kylie Boulton

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Kylie qualified as a veterinary nurse in January 2020 and soon after joined the Chestnut team. She enjoys all aspects of medical and surgical nursing with special interests in anaesthesia and feline care. She has three cats, two guinea pigs and two ducks who all enjoy living in the countryside.

Helen King

Helen King

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Senior Nurse (part-time)

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. 

Jodie Rogers

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

Senior Nurse (part-time)

Jodie started her veterinary nursing career at our Fore Street branch in Hertford, gaining her Animal Nursing Assistants qualification (ANA) from the CAW before moving to our Ware Road branch from where she qualified as a veterinary nurse and became a clinical coach. Jodie has an interest in emergency and critical care, and whilst working with us, completed  the Vets Now certificate of veterinary nursing in this discipline.

In 2015, Jodie moved into referral nursing, taking on the role of a rotating nurse at Davies Veterinary Specialists, where she worked in the kennel wards, diagnostics and theatre departments. Following the birth of her son, Finley, in 2018, we were excited to welcome Jodie back again to our team.

At home, Jodie also has a ragdoll cat, called Crystal.

Rachel Barbrook

Qualified Veterinary Nurse (part-time)

Rachel joined Chestnuts in 2015 and having completed her training here with us as part of a formal scheme with the College of Animal Welfare, she has taken up a part-time qualified nurse role within our nursing team. 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. Previously, Rachel was employed at a referral veterinary practice working as an animal care assistant during the nights.

Rachel is a keen dressage rider, spending much of her spare time with her horses, Kracker and Tia. She also has three special dogs at home, a Springer called Dixie, a Sprocker called Ivy and a new puppy Labrador, Eadie. Frederick, the cat, is in charge!

Jane Weiss 

Qualified Veterinary Nurse (part-time)

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 and Red  are her three lovely fluffy cats, and in her spare time, Jane is a keen netball player.

Elizabeth Roffey

Student Veterinary Nurse

Elizabeth joined Chestnuts in 2020. She has always had a strong connection to animals and from a young age knew that she would go on to work closely with them. She has worked with a wide variety of species within the veterinary field for six years now, and is currently awaiting her final examination to qualify as an RVN. Elizabeth feels that the greatest joy within her career is bonding with the animals, and she really values forming a trust with her patients that allows her to care for them without causing distress, and to enable examinations or procedures to be performed that would otherwise not be possible. Once qualified, Elizabeth hopes to further explore animal behaviour, so she can help make a visit to the vets as pleasant an experience as possible for even the most nervous of our patients.

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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. She has also obtained her Level 2 Certificate for Veterinary Receptionists. 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 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Sandie Dyke

Receptionist

We welcomed Sandie to our team in November 2018. After a very successful career as a medical and scientific illustrator she became a teacher, working at Primary and Secondary level, which enabled her to impart her experience and love for the subject. Failing to adhere to the good old saying 'never work with children and animals', she joined us to fulfil her other passion of working with the latter. She has a busy home-life with two grown boys who have not flown the nest, four chickens, an elderly cat called Gizmo and the new addition of Oakley, a Pointer puppy, who is keeping her on her toes.

Niki Wilson

Receptionist

Niki has a background in Trading and Finance but after having her son Zach, she decided that she would like to return to work in a environment that encompassed her love of animals. Her previous roles include Client Services Co-ordinator at the Royal Veterinary College. Niki has two Cocker Spaniels, Lola and Thor, and three cats. Squeaker, Shadow and Mr Darcy, who all keep her busy at home.

Natasha Mulqueen

Receptionist

Natasha joins us with a background in administration and customer service . She left recruitment to pursue an industry she is passionate about. She loves spending time with animals, especially her cheeky English Bull Terrier called Nelly.

Scooter Scooter

Scooter was our adopted practice cat. She had an accident as a kitten when she fell out of a flat window and broke her back. Her injuries required ongoing medical care, and so she lived with us for many years at Hoe lane where we could provide the care she needed to enjoy her life until she sadly passed away in 2018. She will be remembered with love and affection by us all, and fondly remains our practice 'mascot'.

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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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