An East Lancashire veterinary practice is celebrating as 11 dedicated colleagues clock up almost 300 years’ service between them

Vets, nurses and receptionists are among those toasting major milestones at Stanley House Veterinary Group’s branches in Colne, Burnley, Barnoldswick and Higham.

Their career anniversaries range from 20 years to almost half a century, with many team members putting their loyalty down to the caring family environment at Stanley House Vets and the support of colleagues.

Marie Blackburn joined after leaving school 21 years ago and trained as a nurse, rising to become deputy head nurse responsible for managing the nursing team rota, lab maintenance and quality control to ensure test results are accurate.

She said: “Stanley House has been a second home for me. When you work this closely with people, you are family. You can use that as a strength. You know when to pull together.

“I love watching the progression of seeing something so sick and injured, from being at its worst to coming out the other side, and then seeing the owners. Their pet is their world.

“It is an emotional rollercoaster because you don’t always win, but the gains make it worthwhile.

“The animals can be at death’s door with owners thinking they have to make arrangements. Then you give them their dog back, wagging its tail. You can’t buy that.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Colleagues at Stanley House Veterinary Group celebrating their career milestones together at the practice branch in ColneColleagues at Stanley House Veterinary Group celebrating their career milestones together at the practice branch in Colne (Image: Agency)

When practice manager Liz Edmondson Day joined 26 years ago, she was one of just 23 colleagues at Stanley House which has been operating 24 hours a day since 1911.

Today, Stanley House has a team of 80 staff, and is also an approved veterinary nurse training centre, supporting the next generation of industry professionals.

Ms Edmondson said: “We have always had a family feel here. We want it to be a happy place because you spend so much time at work. We have a lovely team and there are lots of third-generation clients who used to come as a child with their grandparents.”

Clinical director Robin Hargreaves, who has dedicated 34 years to the practice, said: “I am most proud of the people here, and the increasing sophistication and integration of nursing. It has got stronger and stronger.

“The fact we have taken people from school age to professional standard training is brilliant and the standard of care has gone up and up.”

Eileen Barnes who leads the reception team in the Farm and Equine Department at Higham is the longest-serving team member, having notched up almost 44 years.

She said: “I particularly love the farming side and community feel. I am from a farming background and have had a farm for 23 years.

“I understand the trials and tribulations, and what farmers are going through.

“After 43 years I have built a strong relationship with our clients. It is all I have known all my working career. I wouldn’t swap it for anything.”

Clinical directors David Walmsley and Patrick Moore have been with Stanley House for 29 and 25 years respectively.

Other colleagues who have all dedicated more than 20 years include head nurse Kira Sutcliffe, veterinary nurse Jennah Sayle, Gwenda Foulds, veterinary nurse, Lindsey Dennet, a receptionist at the Higham branch, and colleague Alison Akrigg reached her 20th anniversary before her recent retirement.

Stanley House Vets is now taking on additional clients following a pause on new registrations while remaining cautious to ensure demand does not exceed the number of appointments available.