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Acorn Health Club

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Introducing Our Practice Team

Everyone at our practice is committed to providing you with the very best in pet healthcare. Our veterinary team bring a wealth of experience to the practice and have individually obtained high standards of professional qualification.

Dr Katharine Nelson

Dr Katharine Nelson

Practice Principal & Clinical Director

MA MSc VetMB PG Cert(SAS) GPCert(SAM) MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner

Katharine has been working for us since her graduation from Cambridge in 2003. Her post-graduate qualifications include the GP Certificate in small animal medicine (2007), an MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour from Lincoln University (2017) and the Postgraduate Certificate in small animal surgery (2018). Katharine is recognised by the RCVS as an Advanced Veterinary Practitioner in both Small Animal Surgery and Companion Animal Behaviour. Katharine sits on the Canine Advisory Behavioural Panel and has had surgical case reports published in both the Companion journal of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and the Veterinary Times. Katharine's surgery certificate allows the practice to offer our clients an expanded range of surgeries that might otherwise have required referral to a specialist centre, including Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO) to treat cruciate ligament disease. She has past experience working for dedicated veterinary emergency centres in Luton and Milton Keynes, and has even been known to say that she enjoys the adrenaline rush of a genuine emergency in the middle of the night! Katharine lives locally with her two sons and feels particularly lucky to have been seeing some of the same clients and patients for many years.

Dr Katharine Nelson

Gaynor Dudley

Gaynor Dudley

Deputy Principal

AssocCIPD

Gaynor joined the practice in 2002. Gaynor is responsible for the day to day running of the surgery. In her spare time Gaynor enjoys gardening, painting and walking her dog Poppy around the countryside of North Beds.

Gaynor Dudley

Dr Rosie Theakston

Dr Rosie Theakston

Veterinary Surgeon, Vice Principal, Education Lead

MA VetMB PGCert(VetEd) MRCVS

Rosie started working for the practice after graduation from Cambridge in 1998. Rosie enjoys all aspects of small animal veterinary work and has some very good relationships with her many longstanding patients and clients. Rosie holds the Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Education, and is responsible for managing the educational experience that Acorn House offers to veterinary students visiting the practice to observe our work. She is one of the Acorn House Cat-Friendly Ambassadors and is currently studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Feline Practice.

Dr Rosie Theakston

Paul Harris-McCulloch

Paul Harris-McCulloch

Practice Manager

Paul joined Acorn House when we were at De Parys Avenue in 1998 as a Trainee Veterinary Nurse (TVN), and later qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN). He left Acorn House to further his career as a head nurse for a veterinary practice in Luton. After several years there, he decided in a change of career and became a veterinary nurse and animal care lecturer. Paul worked for a college in Cambridgeshire, where he gained his Certificate in Education (Cert Ed). He returned to Acorn House in July 2011 and, after a long nursing career, he is now our Practice Manager. Paul has a Higher National Certificate in Business (HNC). At home, Paul is a Harry Potter fan and manic collector. He has been on the Harry Potter studio tour 4 times! “Acorn House has always had a special place in my heart, and I feel incredibly lucky to be working with such a dedicated, supportive and wonderful team.”

Paul Harris-McCulloch

Dr Sarah Fallow

Dr Sarah Fallow

Senior Veterinary Surgeon and Exotics Lead

BVetMed PGCert(Exotics) MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner

Sarah graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in London in June 2016, and joined the practice straight away. She enjoys all aspects of Veterinary Medicine, but has a keen interest in working with exotic pets and has experience in the husbandry and care of many species. Sarah has completed a certificate in Exotic Animal Practice and is recognised by the RCVS as an Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine. Sarah manages the Clinical Governance system at Acorn House, ensuring that the practice continues to sustain and improve on our high standards of patient care.

Dr Sarah Fallow

Dr Frances Connerton

Dr Frances Connerton

Senior Veterinary Surgeon and Medicine Lead

MA VetMB CertAVP(SAM) PGCertVPS MRCVS RCVS Advanced Veterinary Practitioner

Frances qualified from the University of Cambridge in 2014. As a new graduate, she started work in a mixed practice in her home county of Kent, before undertaking an accelerated course in Emergency and Critical Care and working in a dedicated “out of hours” clinic. Since moving to the area in 2017 she has worked in a busy hospital practice in Cambridgeshire where she has developed a strong interest in internal medicine. Frances holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice and is recognised by the RCVS as an Advanced Veterinary Practitioner in Small Animal Medicine. As such, Frances leads the internal medicine service at Acorn House while still continuing to be passionate about emergency work. Outside of work Frances enjoys catching up with friends, skiing and running.

Dr Frances Connerton

Dr Ruth Halpin

Dr Ruth Halpin

Senior Veterinary Surgeon and Dentistry Lead

MA Vet MB PgCertDent (WBIS) MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner

Ruth graduated from Cambridge University in 1994 and has spent the majority of her career in veterinary hospitals around Cambridgeshire. Ruth Joined Acorn House in 2022. She enjoys all aspects of small animal practice but has a particular interest in dentistry. She completed a postgraduate certificate in small animal dentistry in 2022 and passed her Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Dentistry in 2024.

Dr Ruth Halpin

Dr Kathryn Pearson

Dr Kathryn Pearson

Veterinary Surgeon

MA VetMB MRCVS

Kat graduated from Cambridge in 2010 and has been working locally as a small animal vet since then. She enjoys all aspects of practising as a vet but particularly likes feline medicine. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her two small children and her cat, Cobweb.

Dr Kathryn Pearson

Dr Ola Bonarska

Dr Ola Bonarska

Veterinary Surgeon

MRCVS

Ola graduated from the University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Pl in 2009. She has also completed a student internship in a busy small animal practice in Wesseling, Ge. After graduation Ola completed a 2-year program at the Department of Epizootics and Infectious Diseases of Animals of the University of Life Sciences in Lublin. Then she opened her own mixed practice in the village close to her home town. In 2016 Ola decided to move to the UK looking for self-improvement and different standards in veterinary medicine., working in several practices before joining Acorn House in 2021. Ola's main interests are surgery, dentistry and dermatology. She spends her spare time with her partner at the gym or travelling but she also enjoys home decor and interior design.

Dr Ola Bonarska

Dr Henry Phillips

Dr Henry Phillips

Veterinary Surgeon

MA VetMB MRCVS

Henry graduated from the University of Cambridge in July 2020 and joined Acorn House straight away. He loves all areas of veterinary medicine but has a particular interest in imaging (Xrays and ultrasound scanning). Henry is currently studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Diagnostic Imaging and in April 2023 had a paper published in the Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound journal. In his spare time, he enjoys music and following his beloved West Ham United.

Dr Henry Phillips

Dr Harriet Clough

Dr Harriet Clough

Veterinary Surgeon

MRCVS

Harriet went to school in Bedford before studying Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nottingham from where she graduated in 2020 with both a BVM BVS Honours and a Masters of Research in Veterinary Medicine. Harriet enjoys the mix of medicine and surgery in small animal practice and values the opportunity to develop trusting relationships with her clients. In her spare time Harriet enjoys exploring the countryside with her dog, skiing, riding and cycling but she is also a keen baker and knitter. Harriet is currently undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate in Emergency and Critical Care.

Dr Harriet Clough

Dr Rebecca Bostock

Dr Rebecca Bostock

Veterinary Surgeon

MRCVS

Rebecca graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London in July 2022 and came to work for Acorn House having undertaken clinical experience at the practice as a student. Rebecca enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine but particularly enjoys consulting and building a friendly and trusting rapport with clients and their beloved pets. Outside of work Rebecca enjoys theatre trips and travelling abroad with her partner as well as exploring the UK with her Tibetan terriers, Norbu, Katsu and Mole and her cocker spaniel Marla.

Dr Rebecca Bostock

Dr Wynne Fong

Dr Wynne Fong

Veterinary Surgeon

MRCVS

Dr Wynne Fong

Dr Hayley Crook

Veterinary Surgeon

MRCVS

Dr Julian Tan

Veterinary Surgeon

MRCVS

Dr Maria Sant'Anna

Veterinary Surgeon

MRCVS

Kerry Skinner

Kerry Skinner

Head Nurse

Dip AVN(surgical) Cert VN ECC RVN

Kerry passed her RCVS examinations in July 2000. She came to Acorn House in August 2001 as an RVN and one of the student nurse training assessors. Kerry passed the RCVS Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Surgical) in 2007, and later went on and became our head nurse. In 2020 she gained the VN Cert ECC qualification. Kerry enjoys spending time with family and her horse Mabel.

Kerry Skinner

Sharon Dawes

Sharon Dawes

Deputy Head Nurse

RVN

Sharon is our longest serving member of staff having joined the practice in April 1993. She is one of our training assessors and has a keen interest in nursing clinics and dental care. Sharon has a cat that she rescued from the surgery.

Sharon Dawes

Jo Woodcock

Jo Woodcock

Deputy Head Nurse

RVN

Jo joined the Acorn House team in 2006, she previously worked in a small animal practice in Kent where she qualified in 2003. She has a keen interest in feline and canine behaviour. In her spare time she enjoys cycling and looking after and riding her horse.

Jo Woodcock

Carla Gelder

Carla Gelder

Lead ECC Nurse

RVN

Carla qualified in 2015 and joined the Acorn House team in November 2016. Carla owns a black cat called Sapphire that has an attitude problem! In her spare time she enjoys walking, camping and painting.

Carla Gelder

Rachel Loan

Rachel Loan

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Rachel joined us in 2015. She spent two years studying for a national diploma in animal management and obtained straight distinctions! Rachel then went on to to complete a 4 year degree at Edinburgh Napier University. She has 3 rescue cats called Bella, Lucy and Daisy.

Rachel Loan

Naomi Jenkins

Naomi Jenkins

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Naomi started working at Acorn in April 2017 and qualified in 2018. Naomi has a husky named Sky and enjoys horse riding in her spare time.

Naomi Jenkins

Carla Whiting

Carla Whiting

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Carla Whiting

Rachel Potts

Rachel Potts

Registered Veterinary Nurse

Rachel joined us in March 2018 having previously worked at a veterinary referral practice as a Kennel Assistant. She has 3 cats, a "Naughty Tortie" called Tallulah, a ragdoll called Milo and a rescue called Flora. Rachel is passionate about all aspects of feline nursing and feline friendly care. In 2024, Rachel achieved a distinction in the ISFM Feline Nursing Certificate. She is one of the Acorn House Cat-Friendly Advocates. In her spare time Rachel enjoys spending time with friends and family and travelling.

Rachel Potts

Beth Andrews

Beth Andrews

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Beth qualified as a nurse in 2019 and joined the Acorn House team in April 2022. In her spare time she enjoys seeing friends and family and spending time with her Staffie Pixie

Beth Andrews

Nadia Bianchi

Nadia Bianchi

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Nadia graduated from Harper Adams University in July 2022 and joined the Acorn House team shortly after. She has 2 cats at home Mustang and Jasmine and a Maltipoo called Kobe

Nadia Bianchi

Leigh Smith

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Leigh qualified in 2016 and joined Acorn House in January 2023. She particularly enjoys emergency and critical care including anaesthesia. Leigh gained a certificate in anaesthesia in 2019. In her spare time she enjoys going for walks with her family dog Sony and horse riding.

Kelly O'Flaherty

Kelly O'Flaherty

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Kelly O'Flaherty

Lindsey Millar

Lindsey Millar

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Lindsey qualified as a RVN in 2013 and joined Acorn House in February 2023. She has a love for all animals, particularly rats and other exotic species. Lindsey achieved a Diploma in Exotic Species in 2020 including avian, wildlife, small mammals and reptiles studies. In her spare time she enjoys knitting, sewing, baking and spending time with friends and family.

Lindsey Millar

Kendra Ashby

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Allie Bowen

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Olivia Cunningham

Olivia Cunningham

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Olivia passed her veterinary nurse exams in July 2023 after starting in the veterinary industry since 2020. She has a princess 'Jorkie' called Roxy and three energetic working cocker spaniels Ella, Lola and Willow. She is particularly interested in emergencies and nursing critical care patients. Olivia enjoys playing netball, reading and travelling.

Olivia Cunningham

Amy Bowler

Registered Veterinary Nurse

RVN

Amy qualified in May 2019 and joined the ECC team at Acorn in December 2019. During this time Amy became a Bereavement Advisor and passed her advanced programme in nursing for exotic small mammals. Amy left Acorn in September 2022 where she spent just over a year working out of hours, including Vets Now as well as a locum in day practices. She returned onto the ECC team with Acorn House in January 2024. She has 2 dogs and a cat whom she hand reared from Acorn and in her spare time she enjoys arts & crafts.

Heidi Long

Heidi Long

Student Veterinary Nurse

SVN

Heidi started her vet nursing career after leaving school in 2020 and joined Acorn as a trainee nurse in May 2022. In her spare time she loves long walks with her family and her dog Ronnie and looking after and riding her beloved horses Charlie and Buster

Heidi Long

Chloe Brown

Chloe Brown

Student Veterinary Nurse

SVN

Chloe Brown

Sara Dimmick

Sara Dimmick

Student Veterinary Nurse

SVN

Sara Dimmick

Georgina Turner

Student Veterinary Nurse

SVN

Ella Brown

Trainee Veterinary Nurse

TVN

Annette Pulleine

Annette Pulleine

Dispensary & Acorn Health Club Manager

Annette has been a veterinary receptionist since 1998. She joined Acorn House in 2012 then left 2 years later, to move to Bristol. After having her son, her family moved back to the area and was reunited with the Acorn House team in October 2017. Annette now works in the admin department and runs the practice health plan and manages our dispensary.

Annette Pulleine

Michelle Riddle

Michelle Riddle

Insurance Administrator

Michelle originally joined the practice as a trainee nurse in 1991. After maternity leave, Michelle joined the customer care team. She is renowned within the practice for her encyclopaedic knowledge of pets and their owners! Michelle has now joined our Practice Administration Team.

Michelle Riddle

Clare Munyard

Clare Munyard

Insurance Administrator

Clare joined the team in 2013 after running her own pet care business. Clare shares her home with her cat Rupert, who is a bit of a character! Clare has successfully completed her degree in History which she has been studying part-time for the last 6 years. In her spare time Clare loves being with her family, baking, and reading.

Clare Munyard

Ness Munro

Ness Munro

Accounts Assistant

Ness joined our Acorn House family in March 2020. She is married and has a chocolate Labrador Mila and two gorgeous grandchildren. Ness comes from a long background in customer care and loves the great interaction both with her clients and most of all their four-legged friends.

Ness Munro

Theresa Simpson

Theresa Simpson

Assistant Administrator

Theresa first started work at Acorn as a receptionist. She then became part of the meet and greet team through COVID and is now a member of the Admin department where she enjoys doing all the "boring" jobs. Theresa lives with her husband and 4 rescue cats and in her spare time enjoys making her own greeting cards. She also likes travelling, going to the theatre and reading.

Theresa Simpson

Amy Freeman

Amy Freeman

Assistant Acorn Health Club Administrator

Amy joined Acorn House in June 2019 as a Client Care Advisor. Amy returned from maternity leave in April and joined our admin team as the Assistant Animal Health Club Administrator. Amy is currently studying a part-time degree in criminology as well as enjoying time with her 3 children.

Amy Freeman

Marianna Mazza

Marianna Mazza

Client Care Manager

AVR, DipNCS (VCC), RVCCA

Marianna joined the practice as a Client Care Advisor in September 2019. She shares her home with her husband, two adult children and Willow their Cockapoo. In her spare time, Marianna enjoys baking, spending time with her extended family and friends. Marianna has completed a level 3 in Leadership and Management qualification and the Gold level Companion Animal Accredited Veterinary Receptionist Award. This has enabled her to become an Associate Veterinary Receptionist. In 2024 she was also elected to the BVRA Council.

Marianna Mazza

Dawn Bunting

Dawn Bunting

Deputy Client Care Manager

Prior to joining Acorn house in May 2019, Dawn worked in education for 15 years. Looking for a change in career, she followed her dream and began studying part time for a degree in animal science and management, finishing her first year with a distinction. During this time she also worked for, and then ran an animal education company, which is where she developed a passion for engaging with people about animals. Dawn has a special interest in exotics and has her own menagerie of rescues and re-homes, including snakes, lizards and invertebrates. Special mention has to go to Molly the skunk and Stevie and Pickle the guinea pigs, who are well known at the practice! In-between working and studying, Dawn enjoys photographing her animals, reading, music, films, baking and spending time with family and friends.

Dawn Bunting

Tracie Martin

Tracie Martin

Client Care Advisor

AVR

Tracie joined the practice in November 2014 with almost 20 years of customer care management experience under her belt. Tracie owns two Jack Russell terriers called Bridget and Alfie. In her spare time Tracie likes to go to London to visit her son and to go shopping and sightseeing. Tracie has completed her Gold Level Companion Animal Accredited Veterinary Receptionist Award. This has enabled her to become a Accredited Veterinary Receptionist.

Tracie Martin

Sally Smith

Sally Smith

Client Care Advisor

Sally joined us in 2006, after leaving a career in human nursing. She owns a dog, two cats, two goats and a horse.

Sally Smith

Dawn Lindsay

Dawn Lindsay

Client Care Advisor

Dawn is a qualified teacher and graphic designer. She is also a published novelist and illustrator, but her dream job has always been to work with animals; a dream that was finally realised when she came to work at Acorn House. Dawn has taken in and raised countless rescue animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, chickens, giant African snails, and stick insects. She has also been proud surrogate ‘mother’ to four ducklings who had to be hatched in an incubator. Dawn currently shares her home with an extremely chatty rescued Siberian husky, a previously abandoned Maine Coon cat (who has many complaints about the standard of food and service), and her long-suffering partner and son. She loves reading, drawing, and gardening and would like to be a Polar explorer when she grows up.

Dawn Lindsay

Hannah Muirhead

Hannah Muirhead

Client Care Advisor

Hannah first started working here in 2021 as a member of the Meet and Greet team, she then progressed to a customer care advisor at the beginning of 2022. She has a wonderfully happy working cocker spaniel called Remy -after the rat from Ratatouille! She has always had a passion for animals having owned hamsters to horses! She has a keen eye for wildlife photography, so can often be found on adventures with Remy and her camera!

Hannah Muirhead

Vasilia Bridge

Vasilia Bridge

Client Care Advisor

Vasilia shares her home with her two cat’s Belle and Lilo and her 3 very noisy children. She began her career at Acorn House vets in 2022 when she realised crazy cat lady doesn’t pay very much. In her spare time Vasilia loves to paint.

Vasilia Bridge

Emma Izzard

Emma Izzard

Client Care Advisor

Emma joined Acorn Vets in April 2022 who is a qualified hairdresser of 18 years but was looking for a change in career with animals, which she has a bit of a farm at home. Emma has Daisy the ‘feisty’ chihuahua who doesn’t leave her side when she is at home, Lucy the ‘softie’ Doberman, Milly, Tilly and Amber the ‘loyal’ cats, Missy, Tommy and Flopsy the ‘hopping’ rabbits and Mopsy the ‘squeaking’ guinea pig. In Emma’s spare time she loves spending time with her family and furry animals, reading, shopping and listening to music.

Emma Izzard

Kate Pittaros

Kate Pittaros

Client Care Advisor

Kate joined Acorn House in 2022 following her relocation to Bedford. She previously worked as a Medical PA and has over 20 years’ experience in customer/patient care. She is cat mum to her cheeky Calico, Leia (who very much lives up to her princess counterpart status). Kate has two children who keep her extremely busy, but when she gets a moment’s peace she loves to bake, enjoys reading psychological thrillers, and likes to keep up with the football.

Kate Pittaros

Rachel Spavins

Rachel Spavins

Client Care Advisor

Rachel joined the practice in late 2022 after completing a degree at De Montfort University in Leicester, gaining a Bsc in Human Communication. Rachel has always been a client at Acorn House, so was very excited to join the Client Care Team and see what life is like on the other side of the desk. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys acting, playing bass and crafting. She also spends most of her days entertaining her Mischief of seven rats!

Rachel Spavins

Melissa White

Melissa White

Client Care Advisor

Melissa joined the Client Care team at Acorn House in April 2023. She studied art, jewellery and silversmithing after she left school and then worked in retail for many years including Hamleys and Liberty of London. She worked as an events/wedding organiser for 8 years and as a course administrator for a local First Aid company. She has recently qualified as a person-centred therapist after studying for 4 years. Melissa loves drawing, upcycling furniture, film, art history, music - anything creative. She enjoys spending time with her large extended family. At home, Melissa has a partner, 2 daughters, a cat and 2 rabbits.

Melissa White

Natalie Hinkley

Natalie Hinkley

Client Care Advisor

Natalie is a qualified dog groomer and joined the practice in October 2023. At home Natalie lives with her son and funny Cockapoo Rosie. She enjoys walking in the countryside, cosy nights in and spending time with family and friends.

Natalie Hinkley

Serenity Bass

Serenity Bass

Saturday Assistant

Serenity has a love for all animals and has two pet dogs called Pixie and Poppy and a horse called Cookie Monster! She would love a pet snake! Serenity is currently studying Animal Care at college and would like to become a veterinary nurse in the future. In her free time she loves going out hacking/to organised rides, shows & events with her horse & friends at the yard, and enjoys eating out.

Serenity Bass

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