East Anglian vet is 'one of the best'

A VET from East Anglia has been shortlisted as one of Britain's best – but insists that success will not be going to his head."I'll just carry on doing my job quietly," said Simon Clarke, who has been recognised for his work at the Highcliff Veterinary Practice in Ipswich.

A VET from East Anglia has been shortlisted as one of Britain's best – but insists that success will not be going to his head.

"I'll just carry on doing my job quietly," said Simon Clarke, who has been recognised for his work at the Highcliff Veterinary Practice in Ipswich.

The 47-year-old, from Chelmsford, is one of three finalists in a competition to find Britain's best vet, run by the UK's largest animal insurer, Petplan.

Mr Clarke, who has run the practice for the past 25 years, said it was a "big surprise" to be nominated for the award.


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"I knew nothing about it until they told me I was in the final. I was worried at first that I might have to go for a long interview or something like that," he said.

Petplan has scoured the country over the past few months to find exceptional veterinary professionals, receiving hundreds of entries. The awards are judged by an independent panel of experts.

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Staff and clients of the practice nominated Mr Clarke for the award. They will hope he scoops the top prize at the Petplan Veterinary Awards ceremony on April 3 – a winner's trophy and £1,000 in Virgin vouchers.

The ceremony is being held at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham with comedian and scriptwriter Dominic Holland presenting the awards.

Mr Clarke said: "I have never been to the show before and I'm looking forward to it. I wouldn't say I was confident, it was a shock just to be nominated."

He said he had "hankered after" a career in farming but because that was not an option he was advised to go into medicine.

But instead he chose to train as a vet and is satisfied he made the right decision. "There are good days and bad days, like anyone else, but I wouldn't still be doing it if I didn't enjoy it," said Mr Clarke.

The Highcliff practice, which has more than 3,000 clients, has two premises in Ipswich and one each in Hadleigh and Cattawade.

Alison Andrew, communications manager of Petplan, said: "Simon is a highly regarded member of the local community, with strong leadership skills and shows dedication to his staff and clients at all times."

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