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Team

Our team at Forest Vets is highly trained, skilled and dedicated to total animal health care. We’re a multi-cultural crew of surgeons, nurses, reception staff and management that have devoted our lives to developing high standards of veterinary services for all pets and small animals. Want to get to know us more? Come and read our profiles below!

Clinical Directors

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    Glenn Bengtson
    BVSc CertSAS MACVSc MRCVS
    Clinical Director

  • Liz Parris
    BVM&S MRCVS
    Clinical Director

  • Sophie Cox
    BVSc BSc (Hons)
    BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS
    Clinical Director
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    Justin Nelson
    BVetMed (Hons) MRCVS
    Clinical Director
  • The Forest Veterinary Centre was established over 30 years ago by Ken Burley and Clive Swainsbury with a clear goal in mind – to create a veterinary practice that incorporated both the best facilities and equipment available, whilst also creating an environment and company ethos that put client and patient care first and foremost.

    Glenn Bengtson BVSc (Hons) MACVSc CertSAS MRCVS Advanced Practioner- Small Animal Surgery

  • Hailing from down under, Glenn was born and raised in Australia and in 1992 qualified with honours from the University of Queensland with a Bachelors in Veterinary Science. In 2001 he gained a Certificate in Small Animal Surgery (UK) and became a Member, by examination, of the surgical chapter of the Australian/New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists.Having worked in a mixed practice in Australia, Glenn moved to the UK in 1996 and found himself working at a practice in Cornwall before moving to a small animal centre in Middlesex. Finally, and thankfully, he came to us in 1998 and hasn’t looked back since.Having become such an integral part of our team, Glenn became a partner in 2002 and has become a pivotal and important part of our practice’s progression. In 2015 Glenn was recognised as an Advanced Practitioner by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons  in Small Animal Surgery. This recognises his knowledge and experience, and confirms his commitment to remain informed and up to date in his fields of expertise.

    Elizabeth Parris BVM&S MRCVS

  • Liz grew up on a farm in the Scottish Borders and qualified from the Royal ( Dick ) School of Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh.
    On qualifying she worked in a mixed practice in Perth before moving south to Essex. Liz joined Forest in 1996 initially working at both the Epping and Woodford branches but since the opening of the Harlow branch she has been based there and became clinical director of the
    Harlow branch and Head of the radioioidine unit in 2018.
    Out of work Liz is a keen rugby fan and supports Epping ( upper clapton ) Rugby Club. When not at the rugby club she can often be found at the allotment or out walking with her two dogs Meg and Tay.

    Sophie Cox BVSc BSc (Hons) PGCertSAM MRCVS

  • Sophie grew up in the Hertfordshire countryside riding horses and developing a passion for animals. After qualifying from the University of Brighton with first class honors in Biomedical Science, she went on to study Veterinary Science at The University of Liverpool and qualified in 2007.

    Following her qualification as a Veterinary Surgeon, Sophie worked in mixed practice and travelled around Australia before joining Forest Veterinary Centre in 2013. Her passion for medicine has developed over the years and following 3 years of additional study, she was awarded her Post Graduate Certificate in Small Animal Medicine at the beginning of 2018. She has since become the clinical director of the Woodford branch of Forest Veterinary Centre.

    Sophie continues to enjoy riding and can be found in her spare time competing locally in both Dressage and more recently Eventing.

    Justin Nelson BVetMed(Hons) MRCVS

  • Justin qualified with honours from the Royal Veterinary College with a Bachelors in Veterinary Medicine in 2014. Interested in surgery and diagnostic imaging, he is currently working towards a Certificate in Small Animal Surgery (UK) through the Royal Veterinary College.
    Born and raised in California, Justin practiced as a veterinary nurseafter earning a Bachelors in Music and a Minor in Film from the
    University of Miami in Florida in 2005. In 2009, he and his wife movedto London so he could study veterinary medicine. During his time at university he saw practice at Forest Veterinary Centre and was impressed with the standard of care and the warm family atmosphere that permeated through the organisation. Equally impressed with his knowledge andpractical skills, upon qualification Forest Veterinary Centre offeredhim a job he has been here ever since with his wife, three children, cat‘Hibou’ and dog ‘Toos.’

Veterinary Surgeons


  • Clive Swainsbury
    BVetMed CertVR CertSAC MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
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    Nina Grimstead
    BVMS CertAVP MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
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    Alex Weinberg
    BVetMed MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
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    Loiuse Hodgetts
    BVetMed MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon

  • Mary-Anne Frank BVSc CertSAM MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon

  • Alex Weatherley BVSc MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon

  • Connor Herst DrMedVet MRCVS

  • Sophie Dormon BVM&S MRCVS

  • Henry Griffin BVetMed MRCVS
  • Our Veterinary Surgeons are here to put your mind at ease. They work across our three surgeries providing first-opinion consultancy, operational procedures and care of our patients. Our vets’ priority is your animals’ comfort, they will take every measure to afford you and your pet the best treatment available. On 24-hour call, all year round, our registered clients can rest assured that no matter the issue, or the time of day, our vets are here for you.

Management Team

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    Debbie White RVN
    Practice Manager

  • Jo Sassoon
    Administrator Manager

  • Gill Burton
    Accounts Manager
  • With over 50 years of experience within the veterinary industry between them, our management team ensure the smooth running of operations and healthcare across our three surgeries.Overseen by Practice Manager Debbie White, they are our backbone and our heart; maintaining all of our facilities, organising our staff and liaising between our veterinary surgeons, nurses, partners, clients and patients.With years of training in veterinary medicine and nursing, their job is to make sure your pet has the best healthcare team and facilities available to them.Taking a dedicated and holistic approach to surgery management, you will often find them helping out in every capacity, from walking our dogs to dealing with accounts.

Nursing Team


  • Natasha Ross
    Head Nurse
  • Charlotte Light
    Charlotte Light, Deputy Head Nurse Epping,
    Head of Nurse Training

  • Rachel Lund
    Deputy Head Nurse Epping

  • Jenny Peacock
    Deputy Head Nurse
    Woodford

  • Tracey Boardman
    Deputy Head Nurse
    Harlow

  • Julia Surman Wells
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Victoria Hedges
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Stevie Dunmore
    Nursing Assistant

  • Natalie Valentine
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Rebekah Cross
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Caroline Read
    Veterinary Nurse
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    Verity Beattie
    Veterinary Nurse
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    Sophie Dennis
    Veterinary Nurse
  • Gemma Randall
    Gemma Randall
    Veterinary Nurse
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    Sharon Hasty
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Holly Stewart
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Daisy Hansford
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Lorna White
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Rhys Shelley
    Veterinary Nurse
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    Nicole Ball
    Student Nurse

  • Bethanie Spinks
    Student Nurse
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    Philippa Ball
    Student Nurse
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    Jess Saunders
    Student Nurse
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    Natalia Lusa
    Trainee Nurse
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    Niamh Gray
    Trainee Nurse

  • Mollie Gilbey
    Trainee Nurse
  • Our diverse nursing team is formed of dedicated, qualified veterinary nurses, student nurses and trainees alike. At Forest Veterinary Centre we are a registered training practice for veterinary nurses. They gain their qualifications through working at our practice whilst studying at university and college. Working under the care of our qualified staff, our students and trainees gain invaluable experience, and provide a range of services for our clients, including free advice on pet nutrition, flea treatments, worming and behavioural training for your pets.We always have nurses on call, offering 24-hour care assistance for all of our registered clients, whilst also providing overnight inpatient care at our Epping veterinary hospital.

Reception Team


  • Angie Leagus
    Receptionist
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    Carole Simmonds
    Receptionist

  • Madeleine Knight
    Receptionist

  • Sharon Aldred
    Receptionist

  • Jan Beckingham
    Receptionist

  • Maureen Asser
    Receptionist

  • Lisa Sandom
    Receptionist

  • Jill Harrison
    Receptionist
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    Siobhan Blaney
    Receptionist
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    Gemma Nelson
    Receptionist
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    Ellen Hunt
    Receptionist

  • Tracey Elphee
    Receptionist
  • Our friendly reception team are always on hand to answer any questions or concerns you might have. The face of our surgeries, they’re more than happy to offer any advice you may need with your pets’ care. Whether you want to book an appointment over the phone, or just pop in, our trained receptionists are a great port of call for any questions you may have. They are always delighted to meet the new arrivals to your family, and welcome you to our practice.

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