Meet the Team

Directors and Management

Steven J. Baxter BVSc DBR MRCVS - Director

Steven qualified from Liverpool University in 1981 and came to the practice shortly after graduation. At that time, this was a two vet practice and it has grown steadily since then. Steven studied for and gained the D.B.R. (Diploma in Bovine Reproduction) from Liverpool in 1996 and has a special interest in cattle fertility. He became Senior Partner in 2005. Steven is married to Jill with one daughter, Lucy. Outside of work, Steven enjoys cycling, skiing and enjoys a nice red wine.

Anna J. Whitehead BVet Med Cert. SHP MRCVS - Director

Anna graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2000, joining the practice shortly after. Anna is from a Yorkshire farming background, and her parents are mixed sheep, beef and arable farmers. Anna's interest in farming stems from this, and she has her own flock of pedigree charollais sheep. Anna enjoys all aspects of mixed practice, whether it be consulting or operating in the surgery, or out on farm calls. Anna and her husband have two young daughters and several pet dogs.

Robin J. Brown BVM&S, MRCVS - Director

Robin is originally from the Fife area, and graduated from the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College at the University of Edinburgh in 2000. He began his professional career at a mixed practice in the Fylde, where he worked for eight years, before joining our practice in 2008. Robin still lives in the Fylde and is based mostly at our Wesham branch, where he enjoys the variety of small animal consulting. He plays an active role in the farm animal department, and has a special interest in herd health and medicine. Robin is married to Rosemary, a Fylde farmer's daughter, and has two dogs and two cats.

Nicky Birch HVN - Head Nurse/Practice Manager#

Nicky joined the practice in September 2009. She previously spent 5 years in a small animal practice and 17 years working for a small animal charity. Nicky is a Registered Veterinary Nurse with further qualifications in Veterinary Nurse training, small animal nutrition, small animal behaviour and advanced medical and surgical nursing. She is particularly interested in anything feline or equine. She owns a variety of animals, including cats, horses, hens and small furries, and lives with her husband and son. Nicky can be emailed on



Veterinary Surgeons

Rachel Wyllie BVSc MRCVS - Veterinary Surgeon

Rachel is a local lass and started ‘seeing practice’ here from the age of 14. She continued with us as a University student, and when she graduated with distinction from the University of Liverpool in July 2011 we were delighted to have her join us as a mixed Veterinary Surgeon. Rachel says she particularly enjoys small animal medicine and surgery. Outside of work she enjoys singing, travelling, watching rugby and walking her naughty beagle Louis.

Sadie Halliwell - Veterinary Surgeon

As the daughter of a local farming family, Sadie regularly saw practice during the holidays at White and Baxter (now Ribble Vets). After graduation, she worked for 3 years in a mixed practice in northumberland and then as a large animal vet during the calving season in New Zealand. On returning to the UK she took a temporary 3 month locum position as a mixed vet at White and Baxter and was still there six years later! Sadie left to get married and start a family during which time she worked part time as a small animal vet in Southport. In 2006 she returned to our practice and has since developed her prefoessional interests in diagnostics (radiology and ultrasound), medicine and soft tissue surgery.

Out of work she spends most of her time on Mum duties, either as a taxi service or cheering beside a hockey pitch, for her twin daughters.

Sarah Burndred - Veterinary Surgeon

Sarah graduated in 2002 from Newcastle University with a degree in Applied Biology and then proceeded to study Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, qualifying in 2006.

After graduation, she returned to her roots in Lancashire and has spent time in both mixed and small animal practice before starting a family. She returned to work as a locum vet in 2013 and has since settled as a permanent member of staff at Ribble Vets where I enjoy being part of such an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and forward-thinking team. Her particular interests lie in small animal ophthalmology, ultrasonography, and acupuncture.

Outside work, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and their 3 year old daughter, who loves to help with baking and gardening.

Ben Foley BVM BVS BVMedSci MRCVS - Veterinary Surgeon

Ben was born and raised in Lancashire, growing up in the rural village of Dolphinholme. Going to school in Lancaster he later graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2015. Ben is our first dedicated large animal vet at the practice and has a keen interest in cattle herd health. In his free time Ben plays squash and enjoys days out in the Lake District.

Jessica Dawson BVSc MRCVS - Mixed Veterinary Surgeon

Jessica is from Lancashire and graduated from the University of Liverpool in July 2016. When not working she enjoys baking, playing hockey and hiking and exploring the countryside. Jessica is a mixed vet, looking after both small animals and farm animals, because she couldn't decide which discipline she liked the most! The family always had pets when Jessica was growing up, and whilst she does not have any pets of her own at the moment once things are more settled she is hoping to be able to re home and give an animal their forever home.  

Charlotte Chapman: BVSc MRCVS - Mixed Veterinary Surgeon

Charlotte joined the team in July 2016 after graduating with a distinction from Bristol University (2016). Charlotte has always wanted to be a mixed vet and thoroughly enjoys the variety that comes with small and large animal work! In particular Charlotte enjoys neurology and is looking forward to developing her interests in soft tissue surgery, ultrasonography and cattle medicine. Outside of work Charlotte enjoys volunteering, spending time with her three-legged cat called Wilson and visiting family and friends.

Alice Beckett - BVSc MRCVS Small Animal veterinary surgeon

 Alice graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2015 and worked in a small animal practice in the West Midlands for a year before joining our small animal team in September 2016. Alice enjoys all aspects of small animal practice, but has a particularly special interest in surgery and hopes to undertake further qualifications in this area. Outside of work Alice has two cats of her own and enjoys baking and going to the gym.

Nursing Team

Christine Clark- RVN Medical Team Leader

Christine qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 1995 and has worked in Small Animal practices since gaining her nursing certificate in dermatology whilst working with a veterinary dermatologist. Her areas of interest are lab work/dermatology and she enjoys consulting and running the practice nurse clinics.  She has a deaf rescue cat and a border terrier who she enjoys walking in her spare time.

Sami Taylor- Registered Veterinary Nurse 

Sami joined team Ribble in 2013 as a Student Veterinary Nurse, since then she has completed her degree at Harper Adams University, having graduated in August 2016 to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse. Sami has a keen interest in farm animal nursing, complementary therapies and emergency care. Outside of work, Sami is kept busy with her rescue cat, Buster, and with her many roles within the scouting association.

Samantha Rippon- Registered Veterinary Nurse

Sam started working here in December 2016. When not at work she enjoys competing with her horses, currently numbering 5. She also has a Hungarian Vizsla called Havoc who goes hacking with her.

Sarah Robey - Registered Veterinary Nurse

Sarah joined Ribble vets team in February 2017. She completed her veterinary nursing degree in 2013 through Myerscough college. Sarah enjoys nurse consults, meeting all our lovely patients and their humans.  Sarah belongs to Misa, a feisty 1yr old DSH.

Caroline Stafford - Registered Veterinary Nurse

Caroline is a registered veterinary nurse who graduated in September 2016 from Harper Adams University. She joined the practice in 2013 as a student veterinary nurse. Caroline is from a farming background as she grew up on the family sheep farm and therefore has a particular interest in sheep especially at lambing time. She has a variety of animals at the family home including her own dog Eric, a little border terrier x Jack Russell, who goes everywhere with her. Other hobbies include attending agricultural shows and vintage steam fairs which take up most of her weekends.

Deanna Hartley- Davis - Student Veterinary Nurse 

Deanna has been at the practice for just over 2 years. She is a student veterinary nurse in her second year of studies. She has 2 dogs of her own.

Charlotte Lonsdale - Student Veterinary Nurse 

Charlotte joined Ribble Vets in November 2016 to complete her FdSc Veterinary Nursing degree training and is currently nearing the end of her second year of training. She has two Patterdale Terriers, Coco and Mozie, and a Tortoiseshell cat called Flash. In her spare time she enjoys taking her dogs to the beach, cheerleading, spending time with family and friends and outward bound activities.

Katie Parkes - Student Veterinary Nurse 

Katie is a Student Veterinary Nurse at our practice, she started her training at Myerscough in 2015. She came from Pets at Home where she had completed many training courses such as reptile expertise, cat expertise, nutrition advisor and she is a qualified SQP and can dispense POM-VPS products. Katie started her training at an orthopaedic, soft tissue and cardiology referral practice in Yorkshire then moved to Ribble Vets in June 2015 when she moved to Preston. Her 4 year old Labrador x springer spaniel takes up all her time and she spends her weekends/holidays on long walks in the countryside! Katie will hopefully be a qualified RVN in September 2017.

Rachel Anderson - Student Veterinary Nurse 

Rachel is a student veterinary nurse on her placement year here at Ribble vets. She has a strong passion for helping care for all animals brought into the practice and a lot of ambition. At home, she has two golden retrievers who make her very happy. In her spare time she walks the dogs a lot and enjoys socialising with friends.

Michelle Bryson RVN

Michelle has been with the practice since 2000. Formerly our Head Nurse, she now works part-time and we find her knowledge, experience and calming presence are of invaluable use to our trainees. Michelle is a busy mum to two young children and is also a fitness fanatic and enjoys caravan holidays with her family.

Kerry Molloy RVN

Kerry's career with us began seven years ago, when she undertook voluntary work here. She made such a positive impression that she was offered a training position, and two years ago Kerry qualified as an RVN. Kerry has many pets, including a dog, a cat, a fish, and several rabbits and guinea pigs. Kerry is currently on maternity leave.

Nicola Martyniak RVN

Nicola qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in 1996. She joined our practice in 2011 after taking a career break to raise her family. She has a keen interest in dog breeding, and successfully bred and raised a litter of nine Labrador pups last year. Nicola lives in Preston with her husband, four children, two Labradors, two rabbits and three rats.

Rebecca Dixon Student Nurse

Rebecca joined the practice as an Animal Nursing Auxiliary in 2010. She has recently completed the Veterinary Care Assistant course and has now started her Veterinary Nurse training, attending college once a week. In her spare time Rebecca enjoys horse riding and dog walking.



Caroline Thompson BSc(Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare - Head Receptionist

Caroline graduated from Myerscough Agricultural College with BSc (Hons) in Animal Behaviour and Welfare in 2002. She has been with the practice for ten years and has been Head Receptionist for the last five. Caroline is also a Provisional Member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors. She keeps up to date with new techniques and research by regularly attending seminars and conferences and is always happy to offer help and advice on pet behaviour issues. Caroline is from a farming background and has been around animals all her life. She has bred, kept and trained Border Collies for working trials and has currently three Border Collies and a Labrador. Caroline can be emailed on

Rachel Gouveia – Receptionist

Rachel has worked at Ribble Vets since 2005, before coming here she taught Horse Riding.

Rachel enjoys all aspects of her Job especially getting to know our clients and their pets and is always happy to help. Rachel worked full time until having her children in 2011 and 2013, she now works part time at our main branch in Penwortham.

Shirley Ackers – Receptionist

Shirley joined us in July 2010 when we opened our Wesham branch. Shirley's well suited to her role as Receptionist as she enjoys meeting & greeting clients old & new & takes great satisfaction from providing good customer service. Shirley is married with 2 grown up children & also has 2 granddaughters. She is an animal lover of all kinds & enjoys walking the family Miniature Pincsher Leon. Outside of work her interests include walking in the great outdoors & anything related to nature.

Natalie Benyon - Receptionist 

Natalie joined the practice in 2004. She had previously volunteered at the RSPCA in her native South Africa for a number of years. Natalie is a qualified dog groomer and has a keen interest in dog behaviour and training.
At home, she has a large variety of pets including cats, dogs, guinea pigs and fish - as well as a husband and two children! 

Jackie Hind – Reception Team Leader

Jackie joined the practice as a receptionist in October 2014.  She came from a background of office work and has applied her skills to the everyday running of reception and is now Reception Team Leader. Jackie also has a very calming influence on all those around her. Jackie has two cats at home but loves dogs just as much and will often be found cuddling pets that come into the practice. Outside of work, Jackie enjoys badminton, cycling and films.

Sarah Ainsworth – Receptionist

 Sarah been a member of the Ribble Vets reception team since February 2015.  She enjoys all aspects of her job but her favourite has to be meeting the clients and their lovely pets especially if she gets the opportunity for a cuddle and play. She lives with her fiancé and two daughters along with her Border Terrier, Jinny, and four fish. If it was up to her she would have a houseful of pets but Jinny likes to be a dog on her own! 

Donna Cooper – Receptionist 

Donna started working at the Wesham office in February 2015, but has been known to pop up in Penwortham office on a regular basis and enjoys meeting the many clients and their pets at both surgeries. She has a rescue German Wirehaired Pointer called Lola who keeps both her and her husband fit with lots of walks. They have a motorhome and in any spare time off, they load up and travel all over, usually abroad, although they have been to lots of lovely places in Britain.

Grace Chessell – Receptionist  

 Grace started working at Ribble Vets in January 2017 to cover for Caroline’s maternity leave. She very much enjoys working within a customer driven environment and meeting all of your furry friends when they come through the door!  At home she lives with her family and her 11 year old Hungarian Vizla called Doris, she’s a bundle of joy and certainly keeps the family entertained!! In her spare time she enjoys travelling, reading and socialising with friends and family.

Jeanette Westney- Receptionist

Jeanette joined the Reception Team at Ribble Vets in November 2016 on a part- time basis. She enjoys learning new things and loves meeting clients and their pets.  Having been a client herself with Ribble Vets for 30 years with various pets it is lovely she has joined the team.  She has 3 grown up children a grandson and a large Labradoodle called Alfie, all of which keep her  busy in what spare time she has.

Tracy Bowett – Receptionist

Tracy joined Ribble Vets in December 2016 as a part time member of the Reception team. Originally from Longton, she has been a client of Ribble Vets for a number of years. Tracy has a teenage son and two Yorkshire Terriers. A love of animals makes this the perfect job for her.

Charlotte Meredith –Deputy Head Receptionist

 Charlotte joined the practice in January 2016 as Deputy receptionist and has since taken over as Head receptionist covering maternity leave. She has a wealth of experience on the large animal side as her partner runs a farm near Lancaster. She loves both small and large animals. Clients love her bubbly cheery personality and she is a valued member of the team.