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


  • Liz Parris
    BVM&S MRCVS
    Clinical Director

    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 2018 she is now Clinical Director based mainly at Epping. Liz is currently working towards a post graduate certificate in surgery. Out of work Liz is a keen rugby fan and supports Epping (Upper Clapton) Rugby Club. Liz loves being outdoors and when not at the rugby club she can often be found at her allotment, out running or walking.


  • Sophie Newick
    BVSc BSc (Hons)
    BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS
    Clinical Director

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

  • 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.

Veterinary Surgeons

  • NINA GRIMSTEAD
    Nina Grimstead GP Cert (Opthal) BVMS CertAVP MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
    Nina graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2005, after which she spent several years working at a small aminal and equine hospital before joining Forest Veterinary Centre in 2014. Nina works at both our Eastwick and Epping clinics and has a special interest in Opthalmology, having gained her Certificate in Veterinary Opthalmology in 2020. Outside of work Nina  is a keen runner and cyclist, enjoys playing netball competitively, and likes to spend time with her husband, young daughter and cat Winston (aka Squidge).
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    Alex Weinberg BVetMed MRCVS
    Head Veterinary Surgeon of Woodford.
    Alex graduated from the University of Virginia in 2009 with a BA in Biology and a minor in Psychology and worked as a veterinary technician and waitress in Oklahoma for 2 years after graduation. She moved to the UK in 2011 to attend the Royal Veterinary College for her veterinary training and joined Forest Veterinary Centre immediately after graduating in 2015. She has special interests in surgery and nutrition. When she isn’t at work, Alex is usually playing competitive Ultimate Frisbee at the National and International levels, playing with her two kitties Simba and Shenzi, and protecting her vegetable garden from a fox cub who is affectionately nicknamed Max.
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    Loiuse Hodgetts BVetMed MRCVS
    Night Veterinary Surgeon

  • Mary-Anne Frank BVSc CertSAM MSc AHE MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
    Mary-Anne qualified in Pretoria, South Africa in 2004. She has a special interest in internal medicine and infectious disease. Outside of work Mary Anne farms bees and black soldier flies and she has 2 cats Red and Blue

  • Alex Weatherley BVSc MRCVS
    Head Veterinary Surgeon of Harlow
    Alex Grew up in the Cotswolds and after qualifying from Harper Adams with a degree in BioVeterinary Science, she went on to study Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool Qualifying in 2016. As a new grad she worked in a small animal practice in Surrey and joined Forest Veterinary Centre in 2017. Since then Alex has developed a passion for soft tissue surgery and is studying for her Post graduate certificate in Cardiology. Alex spends her days off playing with her cat ‘Parsnip’ and walking in the local countryside.
  • Katherine Gist MA VetMB VPCert(DI) MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
    Katherine graduated from Cambridge University in 2015 and was involved in charity work abroad before returning to the UK as a small animal vet in East Sussex. She started at Forest Vets in July 2019 after taking time out to travel in South America. Katherine is one of the hospital vets involved predominantly in inpatient care and diagnostics. Her main interest is imaging, particularly ultrasound. She has a postgraduate certificate in Diagnostic Imaging and is working to achieve Advanced Practitioner status. She accepts internal and external referrals for ultrasonography and echocardiography. In her spare time she is a keen sportswoman on the lacrosse pitch and enjoys country walks and the gym.

  • Alessandro Galletta MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
    Alessandro graduated from the University of Perugia (Italy) in 2010. He moved to the UK in 2015, where he carried out charity work for 3 years before joining Forest Vets in 2019. Alessandro has a keen interest in surgery and is currently studying towards a Certificate in soft tissue surgery. Outside of work Alessandro enjoys riding his electric unicycle, playing guitar and spending time with his wife and his ginger cat.

  • Joseph Yate BA VetMB MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
    Joe joined Forest Veterinary Centre in September of 2019, having grown up in Birmingham, studied at Cambridge Vet School, and practicing for two years in east London. He has a keen interest in hospital practice, neurology and soft tissue surgery. Joe is also currently working towards his advanced practitioner status in exotic medicine, and sees his fair share of scaled and feathered pets! Outside of work, Joe enjoys running, exploring London, walks in Epping forest, and cycling. His rescue kitten (adopted as a stray brought into the practice) keeps him on his toes on his days off.
  • Samantha Millette DVM MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
    Originally from the United States, Samantha has lived and worked in the UK for almost 3 years. She completed her veterinary degree in the Caribbean on the island of St Kitts, where she then moved on to the Royal Veterinary College in London for a year. She started her career in a small quiet village in Norfolk based around small animals and wildlife. Since moving towards London/Essex, Samantha has been able to settle into a very busy, fast-paced hospital. Samantha has particular interests in feline medicine, small animal dentistry, and clinical pathology. Volunteering abroad and contributing those communities that need it most is also a passion of hers. When not at work, she enjoys adventuring around London and travelling to new destinations, attending the gym, meeting up with friends, and reading non-fiction
  • Martina Lagatierra-Wellington MA VetMB BSAVA PGCertSAECC MRCVS
    Night Veterinary Surgeon
    Martina graduated from Cambridge in 2015 with an intercalated degree in zoology. She has worked in small animal hospitals ever since, joining the Forest team in 2020 shortly after obtaining her certificate in emergency and critical care. Outside of work, Martina lives in the Peak District and can often be found exploring the hills with her dogs.
  • Hans Van Der Zee MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
  • George Vlachomitros DVM PgC(SAS) MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
    George moved to the UK in 2014 soon after he graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Since the beginning of his career, he developed a keen interest in small animal surgery, and in 2017 he successfully completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Surgery. George has worked in many busy hospitals and first opinion practices in the South East before he joined our team in 2020. George has rescued a small dog named Yoda.
  • Louise Knowlden MRCVS
    Veterinary Surgeon
    Louise graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2018, from which she started in a small animal clinic in Hertfordshire. To expand her skills and increase case exposure she worked at Davies Veterinary Specialist as a rotating intern. She started at Forest vets in summer 2021 and has been enjoying her time with Forest vets. She likes working in a busy hospital environment and caring for the inpatients as well as interacting with client’s and building new relationships. Outside of work Louise likes to explore new places, walk round the countryside with her dogs, spend time with family and bake tasty treats!
  • 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


  • Jenny Peacock
    Practice Manager

  • Jo Sassoon
    Reception and Administration Manager

  • Gill Burton
    Accounts Manager
  • With many 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 Jenny Peacock, 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

  • Charlotte LightCharlotte Light
    Head Nurse

  • Rachel Lund
    Head Nurse
    Epping

  • Tracey Boardman
    Deputy Head Nurse
    Harlow

  • Julia Surman Wells
    Deputy Head Nurse

  • Stevie Dunmore
    Nursing Assistant

  • Rebekah Cross
    Veterinary Nurse
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    Verity Beattie
    Veterinary Nurse
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    Sharon Hasty
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Holly Stewart
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Lorna White
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Rhys Shelley
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Ria Hollands
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Michelle Bodell
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Gemma Armstrong
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Anna Balasuriya
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Becky Moore
    Veterinary Nurse
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    Nicole Ball
    Veterinary Nurse

  • Bethanie Spinks
    Veterianry Nurse
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    Jess Saunders
    Veterinary Nurse
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    Natalia Lusa
    Student Nurse
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    Niamh Gray
    Student Nurse

  • Mollie Gilbey
    Student Nurse

  • Ellie Evans
    Student Nurse

  • Rachel Collin
    Student Nurse

  • Bethan Jones
    Student Nurse
  • Fran Pontnoy Trainee Nurse
  • Brooke Collins 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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    Ellen Hunt
    Receptionist

  • Tracey Elphee
    Receptionist

  • Millie Furman
    Receptionist

  • Alison Jarrett
    Receptionist

  • Pennie Walmsley
    Receptionist
  • Jess Jones Receptionist
  • Kathy Day Receptionist
  • Gemma Zaghlul Receptionist
  • Dorrien Van Der Zee 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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