Fernlea Veterinary Clinics

Meet the Team

Meet our friendly and experienced staff members

Robin Leadbetter Veterinary surgeon and partner

Robin Leadbetter

Veterinary surgeon | Partner

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Robin graduated from Cambridge university in 1983 & worked in mixed practice in Leicestershire before returning to his home in Bristol opening Fernlea in 1986. In his spare time he is a keen runner & enjoys long walks with Jane & their rescue dog Luigi.

Jane Leadbetter

Jane Leadbetter

Practice administrator | Partner

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Jane worked as head nurse in Leicestershire with Robin before moving to Bristol & helped establish Fernlea. Jane still enjoys meeting clients & their pets & working alongside the Fernlea team. Outside the practice she enjoys swimming & spending time with Luigi, a dog she rescued with Robin while on holiday in Sicily.

Kate Dawes Veterinary surgeon

Kate Dawes

Veterinary surgeon

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Kate graduated from Liverpool university in 1998 and joined Fernlea in 2003.  She particularly enjoys medical cases and has studied to achieve the RCVS Advanced Certificate in Veterinary Practice (Small Animal Medicine) in 2019.  Outside work she is a keen musician, and is kept busy with her young family and dog Jessie.  Kate also works occasional weekends as a session vet for Pet Blood Bank at their dog blood donation sessions throughout the South West.

Jen Achilles Veterinary surgeon

Jen Achilles

Veterinary surgeon

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Jen graduated from the University of Bristol in 2009 and has been with Fernlea since 2011.  She is currently studying for a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice and enjoys soft tissue surgery and the otherwise varied mix of first opinion veterinary work. She has recently become a mum to a little boy and is loving this new challenge.  In her spare time otherwise she enjoys yoga, ice skating and baking.

Becca Sheppard Veterinary surgeon

Becca Sheppard

Veterinary surgeon

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Rebecca graduated from the University of Bristol in 2008 with Distinction. Following a couple of years in Mixed Practice in Shropshire, she decided to concentrate on Small Animal Practice. 
Rebecca moved back to Bristol and joined Fernlea Vets in 2014.
Rebecca usually work on Mondays and Tuesdays (when not on Maternity leave) and enjoys both medical and surgical cases. When not at work she is kept very busy with two small children and a Labrador.
Stephanie Bolshaw Veterinary surgeon

Stephanie Bolshaw

Veterinary surgeon

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Steph joined the Fernlea team in 2017, originally as a locum, and has stayed ever since. After graduating from the Royal Veterinary College in 2013, Steph worked in London before migrating back to her native West Country. She enjoys all aspects of general practice, but has a special interest in feline medicine and emergency and critical care. She is working towards her Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice. Steph has a cat called Dennis who enjoys shouting for his dinner and making himself at home with the neighbours!

Gemma Crossan

Gemma Crossan

Veterinary surgeon

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Gemma graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2013 and started working at Fernlea in January 2017. She has a previous background of working in emergency and critical veterinary care. She lives in Bristol with her two rescue cats; Barry and Paul.

Hannah Vaux

Veterinary surgeon

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Richard Lawn Veterinary surgeon

Richard Lawn

Veterinary surgeon

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Kelly Smart Veterinary nurse

Kelly Smart

Veterinary nurse

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Kelly joined Fernlea as a student nurse in 2009 and graduated from university in 2012 as a qualified veterinary nurse. She is passionate about caring for animals, and has a particular interest in anaesthesia and surgical nursing. She worked mainly with our orthopaedic team between 2012-2016 developing her interests in surgical nursing. In 2016 she became Head Nurse, a role she thoroughly enjoys.  Outside of work she has 2 cats called Maisie and Mia both rescued through a charity.  In her spare time she enjoys baking, running, reading and knitting.

Hannah Joy Veterinary nurse

Hannah Joy

Veterinary nurse

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Rachel Matthews Veterinary nurse

Rachel Matthews

Veterinary nurse

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Rachel started working for Fernlea as a student nurse in 2011 and joined the team when she graduated in 2014 from Hartpury College. She particularly enjoys theatre nursing and anaesthesia. She has a cat called Mia who she adopted from Bristol and Wales cat rescue.

Jade Kilbey

Veterinary nurse

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Amy Ashley

Amy Ashley

Veterinary nurse

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Amy started work at the Hanham clinic with Mr Hoare in 1997, joining Fernlea in 2000 and qualifying as a veterinary nurse in 2005.  She enjoys all things feline and has two cats of her own.  She is also one of our regular Saturday nurses.

Jane Tarling Veterinary nurse

Jane Tarling

Veterinary nurse

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Jane started work at the Hanham clinic with Mr Hoare in 1982, qualifying as a veterinary nurse in 1984 and joining Fernlea in 1999. As well as being an experienced veterinary nurse she is also the practice insurance administrator.  She has a Staffie called Rosie.

Claire Perkins Veterinary nurse

Claire Perkins

Veterinary nurse

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Claire qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1998, and joined Fernlea in 1999.  Claire enjoys chatting to clients on reception and also represents the practice by doing school talks in the local area. She has a cocker spaniel called Zebbi, a cat called Chloe, 2 rabbits and 2 hamsters.  Claire also offers a cat sitting service.

Claire Coombes nurse

Claire Coombes

Veterinary nurse

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Claire started with Fernlea on a placement as a student veterinary nurse from Bristol University in 2005 and joined the team full time when she qualified in 2008.  She now works part-time and particularly enjoys working with the orthopaedic team.  She has several pets, including a very naughty border terrier, two cats, two turtles, a bearded dragon and a few tropical fish!

Emma Jenkins Nurse

Emma Jenkins

Veterinary nurse

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Emma has worked at Fernlea since 2000.
She has gained a wealth of experience throughout her Veterinary Nursing career and qualified as a Professional Dog Trainer with the Association of Pet Dog Trainers in 2006. Emma is also a member of ICAN, ABTC & is a qualified trainer & accredited behaviourist with INTO Dogs Association. She has her own dog training, behaviour & handler education business called Competent Canines where she runs puppy & dog training classes in the Bristol area & offers home visits for one to one training & behaviour referrals. Emma owns two rescue dogs who she has helped over their complex behavioural issues. She has a keen interest in helping sound sensitive dogs & dogs who lack in self confidence.

Maddie Place Nurse

Maddie Place

Veterinary nurse

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Maddie is currently in her final year of the Veterinary Nursing degree course at Hartpury university.  She started at Fernlea in 2016 for her university training placement and has stayed ever since!  She is due to graduate in June 2020 and will then be joining the team full time.  She particularly enjoys theatre nursing, and is also one of our regular Saturday nurses.  She has a cat called Nala.

Jade Ward Nurse

Jade Ward

Veterinary nurse

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Claire Goodwin nurse

Claire Goodwin

Veterinary nurse

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Claire started with Fernlea on a placement as a student veterinary nurse from Bristol University in 2005 and joined the team full time when she qualified in 2008.  She now works part-time and particularly enjoys working with the orthopaedic team.  She has several pets, including a very naughty border terrier, two cats, two turtles, a bearded dragon and a few tropical fish!

Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson

Receptionist

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Emma joined Fernlea in 2018, and works mainly on reception.  She thoroughly enjoys her role, having always had a keen interest in animals. She enjoys riding her horses and walking her dog, and also has 3 cats and 2 rabbits.

Sue Mitchell

Sue Mitchell

Practice Manager

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Sue has been with Fernlea pretty much since the beginning, starting work as a veterinary nurse in 1986.  On returning from maternity leave in 2008 she took on the role of practice manager.

Matthew Linnell

Matthew Linnell

Orthopaedic Veterinary Surgeon

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Matt graduated from Bristol Veterinary School in 1996. He returned to the city in 2002 and has worked at Fernlea ever since. He attained the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Surgery in 2008 and was in the first cohort to be awarded RCVS Advanced Practitioner status in 2015. He was mentored by the internationally renowned surgeon Dr Hamish Denny FRCVS and worked alongside him for 17 years until his recent retirement. Matt provides a full-time Orthopaedic Referral Service to other veterinary surgeons across the South West. This means that if your pet were to need an orthopaedic surgery they can receive expert care from the referral team here at Fernlea without needing to be transferred elsewhere. Matt lives in Bristol with his wife and two young sons. He loves going to live music, dabbles in triathlons, and is looking forward to travelling again now that the kids are getting bigger.”

Francesca Tirillini

Francesca Tirillini

Orthopaedic Veterinary Surgeon

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Francesca qualified with merit in Perugia (Italy) in 2014 and she then worked in two referral centres in the North of Italy. In early 2016, she moved to the UK.  After a year she undertook a one year surgical internship at Fitzpatrick Referrals. She joined Fernlea Vets in May 2018 as an orthopaedic assistant.

Her main interests are surgery, particularly orthopaedics, anaesthesia and diagnostic imaging.  She acquired the General Practitioner Certificate in Small Animal Orthopaedics and Traumatology in April 2018 and she is working towards the BSAVA surgery certificate. In her free time she enjoys hiking, rock climbing and traveling. She has a cross-breed dog, Luna, and a black cat, Quasimodo, both rescued, that live with her parents in Italy and she misses them very much.

Amy Collins

Amy Collins

Orthopaedic administrator

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Get in touch

Feel free to get in touch so that we can help and advise you on your pet, whatever the problem!