Familiar, friendly Craven veterinarian Tony Turnbull is bidding a fond farewell to furry and feathered ones along with their owners as he heads into retirement after 35 years with Kingsway Veterinary Group.
Originally from the North East Tony first came to Skipton in August 1980 after qualifying from the University of Edinburgh and a short spell working in Cheshire. The practice was at that time based at 21 Newmarket Street in Skipton (now White Rose Insurance Solutions) under the name of V J S Leslie & Partners.
Tony recalls that in those days the clientele was mainly farmers and fondly remembers the gridlock at lambing time with queues of Landrovers backing up along the street as he and his partners administered to ailing ewes.
Of course much of his time was spent travelling out to remote farms as far away as Langstrothdale at all hours of the day and night just like his North Yorkshire moors real and fictional counterpart James Herriot. Small animal work was handled in the mornings with an open surgery rather than appointment format, and with operations carried out just once a week on Thursdays.
Tony became a partner in 1983 and was excited to be part of the practice’s move in 1984 to brand new purpose built premises on Kingsway, off Otley Road on the outskirts of the town. He recalls the amazing difference that parking and their own lambing sheds made to their efficiency and convenience for the farmers as Kingsway Veterinary Group evolved.
While Tony remained a general practitioner working on any and all animals, as the practice grew the amount of small animal work increased exponentially and became a major part of his daily workload. When the practice again outgrew its already extended premises, the farming element was relocated to Skipton Auction Mart allowing the pets side to expand and refurbish to take over the entire Kingsway buildings with Tony an integral part of the team.
Tony’s legacy to the practice as he retires is the acquisition of its Veterinary Hospital status, the highest standard awarded by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and a rigorous process which he has administrated.
As he looks forward to retirement with no more overnight shifts at the 24-hour practice, Tony is planning on enjoying more time with his family, walking, climbing and his passion for photography.