A highly respected vet from Burton on Trent who ascended to the top of his profession is saying goodbye to a distinguished career caring for animals and is looking forward to an adrenalin-fueled retirement including climbing Mount Everest.

Jon Mills is the co-founder of Linnaeus-owned West Midlands Veterinary Referrals (WMR) in Staffordshire, which opened its doors in June 2011 after he and like-minded colleague Andy Whittingham decided they wanted to launch their own practice.

The pair haven’t looked back since, as the popular referral centre continues to thrive, however, Jon now feels the time is right to step into the next chapter of his life – which promises to be just as exciting.

Already a seasoned adventurer who has completed feats such as skiing across Greenland and a high-altitude trek in the Sierra Nevada in California under his belt, Jon’s next trip will see him climb the eighth highest mountain in the world, which is in Nepal and will be ideal training for his Mount Everest mission.

Jon said: “I have enjoyed a veterinary career of more than 30 years, having graduated from Cambridge in 1991. I spent four years in mixed practice before working for the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) between 1995 and 2004.

“I earned my RCVS Small Animal Surgery Certificate in 2000 and have worked as a referral surgeon since 2004.

“There have been many highlights over the years at WMR but I especially enjoyed seeing colleagues develop, along with designing our new hospital.

“The dynamics change when you take charge of a business. You stop thinking about ‘me’ and start thinking about ‘us’. I quickly developed a paternal feel towards our fantastic team and always felt pleased when they felt they could come to us with any concerns they might have had, whether work or personal.”

WMR’s journey began in June 2011, born from a random conversation between Jon and Andy during a drive home from the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association (BVOA) in 2010.

From a simple sketch on A4 paper, WMR’s incredible growth began in Lichfield, fuelled by the pair’s unwavering dedication and, in 2019, their animal hospital moved to its current state-of-the-art facility near Burton on Trent.

WMR co-founder Andy Whittingham said: “Beyond his professional role, Jon's support and guidance as a co-founder have been invaluable. His mission to ensure the team's happiness and practice success has left an indelible mark on us all.

“Jon's leadership and foresight have laid the foundation for WMR's continued success, and we're forever grateful for his positive impact on us.

“He’ll always be cherished by the WMR family, and his presence will be dearly missed. May retirement bring Jon joy, fulfilment and new adventures.”

Longer-term, Jon has ambitions to study for a degree in conservation, volunteer abroad to help save wildlife habitats and possibly utilise his veterinary skills by working for an aid organisation.

Jon added: “WMR has a great team and I’ll miss working with them every day. I’ll still do a few days here and there to help cover holidays etc, and I’ll keep a close eye on future developments at WMR, which I know will continue to go from strength-to-strength. Andy and I have handed over the day-to-day management of WMR to Fabienne and Elicia and it is nice to know that something we created, nurtured and loved is in safe hands.”

WMR provides a wide range of high standard veterinary services delivered by experienced clinicians and supported by state-of-the-art facilities to facilitate accurate diagnosis and treatment.

For more information about WMR, visit www.wm-referrals.com or search for West Midlands Veterinary Referrals on social media.

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