Meet the Team

Vets Qualified Vet Nurses
Reception Staff & Student Nurses
Practice Manager

Sarah Stead BVM&S MRCVS


Carol Hitchinson RVN Rachel Timms

Hannah-May Hetherington

Carole Stead BA (Hons)
Jean Johnson BVSc MRCVS


Harriette Alderson SVN

Hilary Wood SVN


Veterinary Surgeons

Sarah Stead BVM&S MRCVS

I qualified from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2011. During my degree I worked with wild game in South Africa, as well as an animal charity in India, seeing and learning and gathering invaluable experience. Once graduated, I worked for a year in the UK before deciding to travel to Australia to work as a small animal Vet. I returned to England a year later and resumed my old post after a short stint locuming in practices around the North East. After 2 years I decided to make a move into Emergency Medicine and went to work for Vets Now. This allowed me to learn modern emergency medicine techniques and treatments, seeing very interesting cases we usually wouldn’t see as a GP vet. As well as this, I worked as a locum Vet – filling in for Vets when they were short staffed, allowing me to work in various different clinics, learning new things all the while.

The opportunity to buy the Newton Aycliffe clinic was offered to me, and I decided I was ready to become my own boss. I have since returned to general practice.

I have always been a dog lover but over the years of being a Vet the appeal of cats must certainly be contagious as I am turning into a crazy cat lover as well. I have three dogs who accompany me almost everywhere (including to the clinic, as some of you have probably already met them). I have a Working Cocker Spaniel called Hollie, and a very naughty (but also very funny) Pug called Arnold, and a Long Haired Standard Dachshund called Banger. At home I have two domestic short hair cats called Titch and Olivia, as well as seven hens. All are rescues and came from harsh beginnings, which are now thankfully distant memories.

I thoroughly love what I do, and I am passionate about being a Vet. My personal interests are Oncology – cancer, Emergency Medicine, and Soft Tissue Surgery. Everything I do is driven by a genuine love of animals and a thorough appreciation of the bond people have with their pets. In my spare time I can be found out walking my dogs, learning to horse ride, spending time with my family, or reading. I believe that being a Vet is more than just a job, it’s a way of life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.


Jean Jonson BVSc MRCVS

Jean qualified from the University of Liverpool in 1976 bringing lots of experience to the team, working part time for us.  Jean is an avid cat lover and a habitual scrabble player.

Carol Hitchinson RVN

Hi my name is Carol and I am one of Sore Paws’ Veterinary nurses. I qualified over 25 years ago, and am now registered with the Royal College. I have worked in several practices over the years, from large animal (horses, cows, pigs, sheep and pigs) to small animal practice.

I left the Vet profession for a few years to further my knowledge in other medical fields, one being in the pathology department of an NHS hospital as a medical laboratory assistant. I then went on to work at a large health care centre as part of the community nursing team. My role was as a district phlebotomist (taking blood samples from people). I really missed working with animals so I decided to go back to Veterinary Nursing.

I love all aspects of Veterinary Nursing, especially assisting in the operating theatre, because the ops vary so vastly from one day to another, from dogs to cats, to snakes, lizards, birds, and even meerkats!

I have two beautiful Jack Russel dogs and 3 cats.

Reception/ Administration Staff & Student Nurses

Rachel Timms

I left Secondary School in 2011 and went straight to East Durham College to do a level 3 subsidiary diploma in animal management for a year, I then continue to the extended diploma after that. In 2014 I came to work at Value Vets for Sandy. I love working here as I have a strong passion for the care of animals. In my spare time I like to spend time with my two horses, I also compete them on a weekend when I can. The rest of my time I usually spend with my dog, family and friends.


Harriette Alderson SVN

Harriette has completed her first year student nursing training with flying colours after completing a year of Animal Management studies.  She has spent the summer in South Africa helping Vets with conservation efforts, working with Rhino.

Harriette will resume her 2nd year of Veteirnary Nursing studies on her return.

Hilary Wood SVN

Hilary started with us as a Veterinary Receptionist after years within the Veterinary Industry.  She has since been an asset to the team and has just enrolled on her Veterinary Nurse training.


Practice Manager

Carole Stead (BA)

Hi I’m Carole the Practice Manager and part owner of Sore Paws. My previous work experience lies with children. I managed a children’s nursery for many years and my degree is in the childcare field, although I sometimes feel there is little difference between the two as pet owners cherish their pets just as much and see them as part of their family.

After leaving the childcare profession I worked for Value Vets in Darlington as admin/receptionist and loved every minute of it, especially when all the new puppies and kittens came in. When the opportunity came along to be a part of the Veterinary Practice at Newton Aycliffe I jumped at the chance.

I’m really looking forward to working alongside the current team who have shown both professionalism and dedication to their clients and pets. I also look forward to the new challenges ahead and hope we can deliver a first class service to our existing and new clients for many years to come.

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