The winners of the Agria Vet Community Awards 2024

The winners of the Agria Vet Community Awards 2024

The winners of the eighth Northern Ireland Agria Vet Community Awards (formerly NIVNOTY) were crowned last week (Friday 12 April) at a glittering ceremony in Belfast.

Celebrating the veterinary professionals who go above and beyond the call of duty, the awards recognise those who stand out as positively impacting their peers and crucially the lives of pets and their owners.

Following a record number of nominations this year from practice teams, the finalists and winners were presented with their trophies at what has become one of the most anticipated and key events in the Northern Ireland veterinary calendar.

The awards are organised by Susie Hill, Business Development Manager at Agria Pet Insurance, and supported by BVNA Regional Representative Louise Taylor, the Association of Practitioners in Northern Ireland (AVSPNI) and The Young Vet Network.

Judges representing these organisations commented on the high quality and the significant quantity of the nominations from practices all over NI, from Carrick to Castlewellan and beyond.

Categories for the awards include Veterinary Nurse of the Year, Student Nurse of the Year, Animal Nursing Assistant of the Year, Veterinary Receptionist of the Year, Rehoming and Charity Champion of the Year,

Clinical Coach of the Year and Young Vet of the Year.

The judges agreed that it was tougher than ever this year to choose winners from such a strong and deserving contingent, but are pleased to announce the following as winners:

NI Veterinary Nurse of the Year:

Finalists : Molli Berry – Ashwood Vets, Mary McCullagh – Glenshane Vets, Sarah Magee -Vet4Pets, Carrickfergus, Lesley Ann Lyons-Affinity Vets

Winner: Sarah Magee-Vet4Pets Carrickfergus.

Judges’ comments:

Currently working towards her masters, already holding extra qualifications in Rehab & Surgical Nursing, Sarah definitely works towards being the best she can be. Supporting the running of the practice by streamlining and amending practice protocols to support the smoother running of the practice, she is also an exceptional clinical coach.

Special Award
A special mention goes to Leslie, she was picked out of all the nominations for her support and dedication to Affinity Veterinary clinic. It’s with her help, the clinic opened and achieved a 5* client feedback rating.  She is a kitten and puppy fosterer and as you can image, ends up keeping some of them. Leslie is summed up in one comment, “She is a never-ending supply of support, guidance and friendship,” the epitome of what a Vet Nurse should be.

NI Student Nurse of the Year:

Finalists: Samuel Galway – Rathgael Vets, Melinda Wallace – Cedarmount Vets, Chelsea McFarland – Clare Vet Group

Winner: Chelsea McFarland – Clare Vet Group, Ballyclare

Judges’ comments:

Chelsea never goes home until she has made sure the animals and people are all ok. The only nominee to be called an ‘inspiration’ due to her attitude and the way she handles very difficult situations.

NI Animal Nursing Assistant of the Year: Andrea McGreal Gortlands Vets ,Belfast .

Finalists: Abi Barnham – Farmhill Vets, Andrea McGreal – Gortlands Vets, Lauren Penton – Cedar Grove Vets

Winner: Andrea McGreal – Gortlands Vets

Judges’ comments:

Andrea took the top spot from the judges as she has taken it upon herself to make a very difficult situation more bearable – providing keepsakes in homemade recycle bottles for owners – a loving memory of their beloved pet.

NI Veterinary Receptionist –

Finalists: Lucy Best – Cornerstone Vets, Rachel McKeown – City Vets Shore Road, Joanna Davidson – Farmhill Vets

Winner: Lucy Best, Cornerstone Vets, Belfast

Judges’ comments:

Lucy understands that she is the ‘face’ of the practice and looks after the practice social media which is a role in its own right! She supports the pets, their owners, and the team. And if it’s busy, she will ensure the clients don’t get frustrated and comment to the vets! NO problem is too big or too small for Lucy.

NI Re-homing and Charity Champion of the Year

Finalists: Susan Mckeown – Banbridge Pets Vets, Bob Wright – Holistapet, John Lavery – Firmount

Winner: Bob Wright – Holistapet, Millisle

Judges comments:

From experience, Bob decided to make wheelchairs for disabled dogs, at no cost, just a donation. He works tirelessly with those animals, not only supporting the ongoing life for the pet, he also the owners by giving them their beloved pet for longer. He had multiple nominations all saying how brilliant he is.

Clinical Coach of the Year:

Finalists: Linda Glenn, Glenn Vets, Lynsey Hamilton – Rathgael Vets, Jane Getty – Cedargrove Vets

Winner: Linda Glenn Glenn Vets, Bangor

Judges’ comments

Linda has been a coach for years and still shows the enthusiasm and commitment to support all who she works with.  It is easy to do something well for a short time, to do something great for a long time takes a special person.

Young Vet of the Year

Finalists: Lauren Kirby – Millburn Vets, Leah Doran – Firmount Vets, Catherine McConnell – Vets4Pets Carrick

Winner: Leah Doran – Firmount Vets, Antrim

Judges’ comments

Overcoming and excelling despite adversity, she has never let anything stop her future career success. She also received numerous nominations, everyone saying she is a fantastic Vet & lovely person.

 Susie Hill, Business Development Manager at Agria Pet Insurance, says:

“We are delighted to be back at the AVSPNI Spring Conference to present these well-deserved awards. The recognition shown for these individuals is mighty.

“Veterinary practice is always demanding for all the team, so when people stand out as shining stars, being able to recognise them and thank them for the difference they make means so much. Filming behind the scenes with the finalists this year has been a privilege too.

“The whole Agria team and I would like to congratulate all of our incredible finalists and say a massive well done to our amazing winners.”