Meet the team at Dronfield

Veterinary Surgeons

Dr Ian Lowe

BVetMed, GPCert (ExAP), PgC (EAS), MRCVS (Clinical Director)

Consultant in Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery

RCVS Recognised Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine

Ian graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2004. He became a practice partner in October 2009 after working at Ark for 18 months, and has since taken over sole ownership of the business.

He has a special interest in the care of exotic pets, wildlife and zoo collections. He completed a European certificate in exotic animal practice and a PgC in exotic animal studies, in order to keep up to date with modern treatment developments and current best practice. This enables him to treat lots of weird and wonderful creatures - from reptiles and amphibians, to marmoset monkeys and meerkats. Ian not only deals with first opinion exotic cases but accepts referrals from other veterinary practices throughout the UK.

In 2018, he was recognised nationally and nominated for his dedication to working with exotics in veterinary practice.

During his free time, Ian enjoys all outdoor sports, going to the gym, cooking and DIY. Alongside looking after his collection of poultry and two energetic Border Terriers - Leaf and Twiggy.

Dr Julie Wakerley

BVSc (Hons), MRCVS (Senior Vet)

Julie graduated from Liverpool University in 1986, and afterwards worked in Dewsbury for a short time in a mixed practice. She joined the Ark team in 1987 alongside the original practice owner, becoming a partner a few years later, and has been here ever since.

She has a great interest in most aspects of the general practitioner role, including radiography and ultrasonography, orthopaedic and ophthalmology work, wound management and reconstructive surgery, and dentistry. Julie is also one our OV qualified veterinary surgeons, which means that she is responsible for completing pet passports.

Some of her favourite aspects of the job are the daily variety of cases, doing her very best for animals even under challenging circumstances, and being able to see two generations of pets and families grow up during her time here.

In her spare time, Julie enjoys horse riding, oil painting, gardening, cooking, and attending the theatre and ballet.

Dr Jennifer Wardale

Jenny graduated from Liverpool University in 2010. After working in practices around various parts of Yorkshire and London, she was very happy to return home to Sheffield. She joined the Ark team in November 2017.

She enjoys all aspects of veterinary practice and is especially passionate about anything feline. Jenny says that the most rewarding aspect of her job is making a difference to her patients' health - she loves to see our inpatients feeling better and being able to return home to their families.

Her most recent surgical training has allowed her to undertake our keyhole (laparoscopy) procedures, which she is finding extremely interesting.

Outside of work, you'll usually find Jenny walking her dog Annie in the Peak District, and being kept busy at the gym or yoga classes.

Dr Fiona Brindley

Fiona graduated from University College Dublin in 2012, and has been working in small animal practice ever since. She moved over from Ireland to join the Ark team in July 2015.

She has a large interest in rabbit medicine and preventative treatment. One of her other passions is tackling pet obesity through regular weight clinics and dietary advice - she enjoys working alongside our clients to help their pets shed some pounds.

Fiona recently completed a PgC in small animal medicine, and is now a certificate holder within the veterinary medical field.

She enjoys cooking at home, playing board games and cuddling her handsome cats, Oscar and Max.

Dr Dawn Jackson


Dawn graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2016. Originally from Cambridge, she moved north to settle in Sheffield and joined Ark in 2017, after seeing practice at the surgery as an EMS student on placement.

She enjoys the variety that general practice brings, and has a particular interest in dermatology, soft tissue surgery and pathology. Dawn can often be found in our extensive in-house laboratory (which is her favourite place to be) peering down the microscope to assess blood and urine samples, or to take a closer look at species of parasite.

Outside of work, she enjoys walking, swimming, reading, and anything sci-fi related.

Dr Thomas Bunn

BSc (Hons), BVetMed, MRCVS

Tom graduated from the Royal Veterinary College of London in 2018. During his studies, he was heavily involved in student animal welfare, and zoological and mountaineering societies. He also undertook placements with zoological and exotic veterinary teams in the UK, New Zealand, and California, as well as wildlife conservation work in Kazakhstan.

He had been working in a small animal practice in South Yorkshire for 18 months before joining the team at Ark in January 2020. He is enjoying developing his skills in all aspects of practice, but is especially interested in zoological medicine, emergency care, and pathology.

During his spare time, Tom enjoys getting outside to climb, hike, and run. When the weather isn’t up to it he can be found bouldering indoors or planning further travelling holidays. He has a pet royal python at home named Bernard.

Veterinary Nurses

Deborah Jowett

Veterinary Nurse

Debbie is one of our long-standing members of the team, having joined Ark back in January 1983. She first started out on reception, but quickly discovered that she much preferred the nursing element of the job. Since then, she has dedicated her time to caring for our patients and has gained a great deal of knowledge and experience in all aspects of nursing.

She really enjoys getting involved with the in-house laboratory workload, helping the vets to identify signs of disease and following their treatment plans accordingly. One of her other passions is radiography (x-ray imaging), she finds it very fulfilling - as sometimes you get to see a very interesting or exciting case.

In her spare time, Debbie enjoys cooking and baking for her family. She is also very talented at crafts and cake decorating, and a keen gardener.

Michelle Billard

Registered Veterinary Nurse

Michelle joined the Ark team in June 2012. She started her nursing career at the age of 17 in a mixed animal practice, before moving on to work in a small animal surgery caring for companion animals.

She is a clinical coach, which means that she is able to oversee nursing students and sign off their practical on-the-job training.

Her main interests include teaching students and wound management. Michelle is also very keen on running our diabetic and geriatric nurse clinics - she has a real soft spot for 'golden oldies' and can often be found making a big fuss of our patients to help them feel at ease.

Outside of work, Michelle enjoys reading, going out for long walks or spending quality time with her family - as well as Sam the dog and Florence the cat.

Philippa Griffith

Registered Veterinary Nurse

Philippa joined the Ark team in November 2017. She first worked in practice as a receptionist at another small animal surgery, and then went onto begin her veterinary nurse training - finally qualifying as an RVN in August 2018.

She is also a clinical coach, which means that she is able to oversee nursing students and sign off their practical on-the-job training.

One of her favourite aspects of the role is caring for inpatients and helping them on the road to recovery. Philippa especially enjoys doing nurse consults, where she can discuss pet health in greater detail and give advice to our clients about topics such as dental hygiene, diet and neutering.

She has a naughty Jack Russell called Charlie, who she loves taking for scenic walks - and openly admits to having a huge soft spot for all Jack Russell Terriers who visit the practice.

Rebecca Wills

Registered Veterinary Nurse

Rebecca joined the Ark team in September 2013, having previously worked at Sheffield Greyhound Trust as a kennel hand for retired track dogs in search of new homes. She also studied animal management at college and gained a distinction.

She began her veterinary nurse training with us and qualified as an RVN in October 2018.

The favourite aspects of her role are radiography and laboratory work, and helping other members of staff whenever she can. Rebecca especially enjoys working with our exotic patients, and she is currently studying towards her exotic nursing certificate.

During her free time, she enjoys socialising with friends and family, or exploring the Peak District with Zak - her much loved German Shepherd.

Hetty Harrison

Registered Veterinary Nurse

Hetty joined the Ark team in January 2020 after previously working in a small animal practice for four years. She qualified as an RVN in 2017 whilst studying at the College of Animal Welfare, and is still very much in love with nursing. She enjoys all aspects of her job, but particularly likes surgical nursing and theatre work. Hetty has a keen interest in wildlife and exotics, and is hoping to complete her certificate in exotic nursing in the near future.

She is also a clinical coach, which means that she is able to oversee nursing students and sign off their practical on-the-job training.

She has three dogs at home, two Jack Russell Terriers - Jimmy and Teddy, and a rescue Dachshund cross called Reggie, in addition to four budgies. In her spare time, Hetty enjoys adventuring and going for long walks with her boys and spending quality time with family.

Bethan Johnson

Student Veterinary Nurse

Beth joined the Ark team in September 2017, as one of our receptionists.

She has since been enrolled with college and is now studying her second year of veterinary nursing.

Beth's favourite parts of her role are assisting the clinical staff in the prep room and theatre, and comforting the inpatients following surgery. She enjoys learning on the job and picking up new skills along the way.

Her time outside of work is spent taking riding lessons and looking after her horses. She also enjoys spending quality time with her husband, friends and numerous other pets.

Hannah Graham

Student Veterinary Nurse

Hannah joined the Ark team as a permanent member of staff in 2019, after completing a college placement in practice. She has always wanted to work with animals and couldn't see herself doing any other job.

Her time is currently split between helping the nursing team and covering the reception desk, which helps her to learn different aspects of working in a veterinary practice. She is now enrolled with college and is studying her first year of veterinary nursing.

The favourite parts of her role include laboratory work (such as running blood tests and urine tests, and examining what we find under the microscope), and meeting all of the animals that visit us.

Mabel, her pet Staffie, is a regular visitor at our Dronfield surgery and enjoys a good fuss.

Holly Dickinson

Student Veterinary Nurse

Staff bio and photo coming soon.

Management and Support Staff

Lisa Clay

Practice Manager (VPAC, CVPM)

After previously working in both independent and corporate practices around South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, Lisa joined Ark in August 2018, covering both branches in Dronfield and Killamarsh.

She has a background in nursing and management, having already qualified as an ANA and C-SQP. Her most recent certificates also include administration and practice management.

The job role of practice manager is quite varied and challenging, and this means that her responsibilities include staff management and recruitment, financial reporting, client relations, marketing, and maintenance of premises and equipment. Lisa says that the most rewarding aspect of her job is ensuring that daily operations run smoothly in each practice.

She is the proud owner of two rabbits, Dot and Dash, who take up a lot of her time outside of work. Her other interests include travelling, taking drum lessons and retail therapy.

Sally Barton


Sally joined the Ark team in March 2014, after working at Sheffield Hallam University for a number of years in their logistics department. You will usually find her covering the desk at our busy Dronfield practice, underneath a mountain of pet insurance paperwork. She is the second of our two staff members who share the task of submitting our client's pet claims, and she really enjoys the extra responsibility.

Her favourite part of the role is chatting to our clients on a daily basis, and cuddling any puppies or kittens that come in for their first health checks.

Sally has a huge love for rescue animals and strays. She has a very caring nature and most recently, she adopted a little cat who was brought to us after being found wandering the streets alone.

Lynne Whiteley


Lynne joined the Ark team in 2015, having worked in various administration roles for over 25 years.

You will usually find her covering the desk at our busy Dronfield surgery, she is always happy to help and nothing is too much trouble. She enjoys chatting to our clients when they pop in and is widely known as a very talkative character.

Lynne has recently passed her Accredited Veterinary Receptionist Award (AVRA) Gold certificate.

Outside of work, her hobbies include watching football with her husband, caring for her pet guinea pigs and Woody the cat, and going for long walks.

Lloret Wilson


Lloret joined the Ark team in June 2012. She spent all of her previous working life within the sales departments of large industry companies, until she decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition to work around animals. You will usually find her covering the desk at our busy Dronfield practice, where she also completes our stock ordering for dispensary and various administration tasks.

Her favourite part of the role is building a rapport with our clients and patients, especially getting to know any new additions to the family and watching how they develop their own special little character over the years.

Lloret has recently passed her Accredited Veterinary Receptionist Award (AVRA) Gold certificate.

She enjoys kickboxing, going to the theatre or concerts, and most things sci-fi related.

Amy Brewster


Amy started working at Ark in February 2020. Prior to this, she worked as a receptionist in several other veterinary practices around the Lake District and Sheffield. She likes making all clients and their animals feel comfortable and special, but has a real soft spot for cats.

Her hobbies and interests include tattoo design, going to music gigs and festivals, and retro 90's cars. In her spare time, Amy also enjoys cat sitting as well as looking after her own three cats - Guido, Bella and Fat Pez.

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