Our Vets

Jo Bellis BVM&S MRCVS, Cat advocate

Practice Principal

Since January 2019 Jo has become the new principal of Downwood Veterinary Practice Ltd. She is keen for Downwood to remain the friendly, independent practice that Robin spent many years creating, providing high quality medical and surgical services for your pet.

Jo qualified from Edinburgh University In 2006 and after 4 years of working in mixed practices she became a small animal locum working locally.
She enjoys all aspects of small animal practice but has a keen interest in small animal surgery and she is a qualified acupuncturist.

Jo is married and lives with Ian, an equine Vet.  They have 2  children and share their house with their rescue dog, two cats  and three alpacas!

Outside work Jo enjoys spending time with her family and the occasional round of golf.

Claire Elder BVMS, MRCVS.  Cat advocate

Claire qualified from The University of Glasgow in 2015, She spent a year in mixed practice in her home county of Aberdeenshire. Following that she completed a years internship at an orthopaedic referral centre just north of Aberdeen.

Claire located to the (much warmer!) South East and joined us at the end of October 2017. She is enjoying the wide variety of cases and has just begun studying for a  certificate which will keep her busy over the next few years.

Out of work she enjoys horse riding ( especially dressage), socialising with friends, running and training her very cute whippet puppy!

Sarah Pile BVM&S MRCVS, Cat advocate

Sarah qualified as a vet from Edinburgh University in 2003.  She initially worked for 5 years in mixed practice in Newcastle before moving south to concentrate on just small animal work.  Sarah works at the practice part time as she has a young family and a large number of pets / small farm herself including her big lurcher Pluto.  You may see Pluto lying patiently at Reception.

Administration team


Maria Brett VPAC APHC - Practice Manager, Cat Advocate

Maria has been working within the Veterinary Profession for the past 30 years, previously nursing and then in administration and management. She joined us as Practice Manager in 2007. 

Maria is also an advanced Pet Health counsellor, she runs our weight clinics and is a mental health first aider. In 2019 Maria also competed a course on bereavement support. ( read about bereavement support on "saying goodbye" tab).

In her spare time she enjoys  looking after her 2 cats, guinea pigs and her rescue dog Ollie.

Maria is married and met her husband Phil who worked for a local animal rescue centre, at Downwood!  

Tina Givan - ANA

Tina joined our reception team in 2000 and since then she has attended college to gain her ANA ( Animal Nursing Assistant)

qualification in 2005 with a distinction.

Out of work she enjoys walking her German Shepherd Dog "Ozzy", socialising with friends and she enjoys spending time with her family.

Jan James

Jan has worked as a receptionist at the Downwood Veterinary Centre since February 2006.

She has had many years experience dealing with the public in various working environments.

In her spare time she enjoys walking her rescue Yorkshire Terrier "Millie", socialising with friends, eating out and foreign travel.

At weekends she is an avid clay pigeon shooter with a local club, she has won a couple of C class competitions.

She has recently become a Grandmother and is enjoying spending time with her new grandson.

Nursing team

Natalie Roberts RVN. Head Nurse, cat advocate

Natalie qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 1998 and became Head Nurse at a local practice.  She changed careers in 2002 and joined a Veterinary pharmaceutical and equipment company where she sold equipment and consumables but missed the nursing side of the job, so left and resumed Veterinary Nursing.

She joined Downwood Veterinary Centre as Head Nurse in 2004, She is also our Insurance claims administrator.

She lives locally with her husband, their 2 boys and their crazy  Hungarian Vizsla called "Vinnie".

She enjoys baking, walking, socialising with friends, going to the cinema and dining out. She also enjoys foreign travel especially cruises!

Nathan Cornelius RVN, Cat advocate

Nathan started with us in January 2017. He started his nursing career in 2013 and qualified in August 2016. He enjoys all aspects of nursing, but he particularly enjoys anaesthesia, theatre and laboratory work.

Nathan has recently completed his clinical coach training and is mentoring our student nurse Farrah. He is also completing his ISFM feline nursing certificate which is keeping him very busy!

In his spare time Nathan enjoys swimming, socialising with friends and going to the cinema. He lives locally with Willow, his slightly overweight black cat!

Jackie Flitter ANA

Jackie joined us at Downwood Veterinary Centre in 2003 after deciding on a career change following 20 years in hairdressing.

She attended Brinsbury College one day a week and gained her ANA ( Animal Nursing Assistant) qualification in 2006.

Jackie shares her family home with her 5 cats! and their dog Rosie.

Jackie likes to spend her time with her 3 children and her 3 grandchildren who keep her very busy! She also likes gardening, cooking,

exploring new walks with their young dog. 

She has also recently found a love for cruises and is looking forward to planning  more in the future!

Farrah Lusted ANA

Farrah started with us part time in October 2018. She has just recently completed her training at Plumpton and gained her ANA ( Animal nursing assistant ) qualification with a distinction! Farrah is going to continue her training to become a fully qualified RVN

Since leaving School she has worked with horses at various competition yards, but due to a bad accident in 2016 and after much soul searching in Australia she decided that she still wanted to work with animals ... just smaller ones!

Farrah and her family have been clients of ours for over 15 years and found out about a position whilst Merlin her lovely lurcher was in with a cat pad. In her spare time she enjoys baking, socialising with friends and family and loves walking the dog, riding and competing.