FARMING: Farewell, until we meet again

In June 1984 I got a tip off from my tutor, Joe Fraser, that there was a plum job coming up at the Curry, Clark, Malone and Young Practice in Northumberland.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 9:13 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 9:14 am

After meeting the partners and enjoying lunch with Alan and Jennifer I was offered the job. My letter of appointment for my first job remains one of my most treasured possessions.

I started work in August and the training policy in the practice was ‘assist with one, supervised with one, then you can go on your own’. I relished the opportunity to feel that I was quickly able to do the job I was trained for. The 2 in 5 on-call rota helped accelerate my progress. One of the great strengths of our practice has always been its training and support of new vets. I learned not to panic until it was actually time to panic. (And then not to let on that I was panicking!). And if things weren’t going according to plan and they couldn’t be

fixed, I learned to push the ‘F’; button and not let it get me down. I joined the partnership in July 1988 and my name was added to the brass plates of Clark, Malone Young and Macfarlane. The practice evolved with new branches opening, renaming (Aln Veterinary Group), acquisitions (Bewsher Veterinary Surgeons) and merger with Northumbria Vets to form Alnorthumbria Vets.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

This merger gave us a scale which allowed genuine species specialisation and that has been

important for recruitment of a highly motivated and talented team of vets.

As vets our primary responsibility is to our patients but my philosophy has always been that the needs of the owner are equally important. I’ve had a great time working with our clients, mostly with successful outcomes and having great fun along the way. Many of you are now lifelong friends.

As well as the clinical side of the job, I’ve had great satisfaction from running the business

along with my various fellow partners and directors over the years. It’s been gratifying to be

involved in something that has provided a workplace and a social setting for so many people.

Beyond the practice, my colleagues have allowed me to get involved with many other organisations. Involvement with the North of England Veterinary Association, Newcastle

University and Kings College London have been satisfying, but the most fulfilling ‘outside interest’ was my time on the board of XLVets (UK) Ltd, when there was a deep feeling of

purpose in what we created. In late 2018 I requested a 12 month sabbatical and I started my ‘gap year’ in June 2019.

During that year we did some travelling. I spent more time than I’d ever been able to before on my bike and my boat and in my kayak. We also found a new house on the West coast of Scotland, moving here last October. It was always my intention to come back to work this month but I’ve just been enjoying our new location too much and have finally decided to

make the break. There’s lots that I’ll miss at Alnorthumbria - the patients, the clients, the work colleagues, the area, the laughs. But it’s time for a change.

Before I go, I’d like to say a heartfelt thankyou to all of the clients and all of the staff at the practice for all of the good we did together and for all of the jokes we shared. And for your patience with me over 34 and a bit years.

We’ve still got a cottage in Northumberland, so this is only farewell, until I see you again...