SPVS Congress 2012

Thursday 17th May:


Social & Partners Programme

Thursday 17th May

  • Check in at the Hilton open from 3.00pm. (Click here if you are a golfer).
  • Buffet Dinner available at the hotel.  (Cost not included).
  • Or (recommended) catch the Hilton ferry (free for Hilton guests) from the hotel jetty to Canary Wharf and eat at one of these waterside restaurants.  Remember to book first.  If the weather is good several have outdoor dining areas.
    •       Next to the ferry pier:
  •      Gaucho 29 Westferry Circus.  020 7987 9494 (Argentine. Great service, wonderful steaks).
  •      Camino: 28 Westferry Circus.   020 7239 9077 (Spanish.  Charcoal grill, tapas etc.)
  •      Royal China: 30 Westferry Circus. 020 7719 0888 (Authentic Chinese and Dim Sum).

  •      Turn left.  2-5 minutes from the pier.
  •       Zizzi: 33 Westferry Circus. 0207 512 9257 (Italian, great views).
  •       Belgique: 37 Westferry Circus. 020 7516 00226 (Belgian brasserie).







  •       Turn left.  5 - 10 minutes stroll.
  •       The Grapes, 76 Narrow Street. 0872 148 4517 (Traditional old pub with tiny balcony overlooking the river). 


  • Don't miss the last ferry back to the Hilton (probably 23.50, but check on the day). 
  • Socialise in the Hilton bar and on the riverside terrace (great view of the "Manhattan Skyline").

Friday 18th May:

For fitness fanatics: Thames path and parkland wake-up run with triathlete, Ironman competitor and soon-to-be SPVS president Gudrun Ravetz and her team.

Partners Programme sponsored by VetZ:

  • Ben Mayes (President BEVA and Olympics volunteer)
  •       Presentation: "Introduction to the Olympics equstrianism events".
  • Thames Clippers River Roamer ticket for delegates' partners. 
  •       Either join the group on the ferry to Greenwich, via Canary Wharf. Guided walking tour of Greenwich including the future route of the Olympic equine cross-country course / Greenwich observatory / the Prime Meridian / Greenwich Market.  Lunch in Greenwich and return to the hotel at your own pace or onwards to central London. 
  •       Or catch the ferry upstream to spend the day in central London.
  •       Optional tickets for the London Eye (the Wheel) / RIB Experience (white knuckle speed-boat ride).     
  • Be back in time for the Keynote speaker.

Keynote Speaker: Sponsored by LloydsTSB and Rickerbys LLP

Karen Darke: Inspirational UK Paralympic medal hope for 2012.  

Author of "If You Fall..." 





Evening Dinner Cruise on the Naticia, Bateaux London - Hosted by MSD Animal Health.

  •       Sparkling Kir on embarkation at the Hilton pier.
  •       4 course set banquet meal with coffee and a bottle of wine per couple.
  •       2 1/2 Hour Thames cruise as the sun sets and the skyline lights up.
  •       Partially retracting glass roof opens to the stars if the weather is good.
  •       Split level seating with panoramic windows.
  •       Live Jazz Trio. 


Saturday 19th May:

For fitness fanatics: Gudrun and her team will be joined by Ironman and Triathlete Dr Ernie Ward.

Partners Programme:

  • Walking tour of the old and the new at Canary Wharf led by Official London Guide Steph Tickner (ex VN, ex elephant keeper, larger than life). 
  • Lunch at Gordon Ramsey riverside pub, The Narrow.  (Cost not included).  Alternatively there are numerous attractive waterside restaurants around the old docks.

  • Shopping at Canary Wharf.  The hidden arcades have more than 200 outlets including many of the big-name London   stores, without the crowds.
  • Or catch the Thames Clipper upstream to spend the day in central London.
  • Optional tickets for the London Eye (the Wheel) / RIB Experience (white knuckle speed-boat ride). 

For All:


Visit the Olympic Park.  Sponsored by Norbrook 

By coach or tube to Stratford, where the stadium, pools, other venues and landscaping will be almost complete.  Enjoy a glass of wine while an official London Guide tells the story of the changes since 2005 and points out where the Olympic action will take place.





Gala Dinner Dance at the Hilton.  

Hosted by Citation plc.

  • Black-tie dinner, for delegates, partners, colleagues and guests. 
  • With local favourites "Gentleman Tim and the Contenders"
  • With their musical influences deeply rooted in early 50’s style Swing, West Coast and Chicago Blues, Gentleman Jim and the Contenders will fill the dance floor.

                                                                     Click here to Listen to Gentleman Tim and the Contenders.

Sunday 20th May:

  • Use the pool and the gym at the Hilton.
  • Catch the Hilton Ferry and take coffee beside the river.
  • Visit the Museum of London Docklands.
  • Join the public session of the SPVS AGM to see Gudrun take over the presidency (and to see if your partner won the draw for the case of wine).
  • Hilton rooms check-out 12pm
  • Thanks for coming and we hope to see you again next year!



Congress Speakers


Mark Beaney

Mark is a partner at Hazlewoods LLP, one of the UK’s Top 40 independent Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, currently advising over 150 veterinary practices.  He has been with the firm for over 9 years and specialises in advising the veterinary profession. The nature of his work is very varied but he is involved with his clients helping set practice strategy, profit improvement plans and efficiency and maximising tax planning opportunities. In addition, he advises on other areas such as ownership change, goodwill valuations and buying and selling practices. He if often seen at events and is a regular lecturer to the profession on relevant business and tax related topics. Outside of work Mark enjoys Skiing, rugby, football and Golf.


Pip Boydell

Pip qualified from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in London in 1984. He then spent a year in general practice before initially obtaining a post as houseman at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, before progressing to the status of registrar in the surgical department.  After leaving Edinburgh University, Pip moved to a referral practice in London before commencing a 3 year residency in Veterinary Ophthalmology at the RVC.  Along with his partner, Rachel Pike, Pip co-founded Animal Medical Centre Referral Services (AMCRS) in 1990.  Pp has published over 200 papers and abstracts in veterinary and medical journals and is a regular reviewer of articles submitted to such journals. He is a frequent speaker at veterinary and medical meetings throughout Europe on his favourite topics of philosophy, ophthalmology and neurology.  Pip starred in the TV docu-soap Supervets and outside work the rock band, “The Bruise Brothers”, of which he is a member, has regular events.  Pip is the current WKA World kickboxing champion in his category, having fought for his country around the world.


Estelle Caddoo

Estelle has been involved with the Investors in People framework (IIP) for over 18 years, both as an employer and a specialistf or LANTRA - the UK’s Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries including the animal health and welfare sector.  She is Lantra’s licensed IIP quality manager and trainer, and is an assessor and advisor working directly with a number of clients in the sector.  Having been part of the team that developed the current version of the IIP framework, Estelle specialises in training people on the framework and helping organisations get the most benefit from using it as a strategic management tool. She was also one of the pilot assessors for the Health and Wellbeing Framework and is now supporting organisations in using this as a tool to support long-term sustainability


Julia Dando, 

Julia, who has an academic background in education research and previous work with horses, is a relatively new member of the SCAS team, joining as the training manager towards the end of 2010.  Among her responsibilities for the charity, she is responsible for tutoring the "Pet Loss Support in Veterinary Practice" course offered by the charity, delivering bespoke pet bereavement training and training in the Human - Companion Animal Bond and also for tutoring trainee volunteers for the Pet Bereavement Support Service.  The Pet Bereavement Support Service has been providing free emotional support to those who have lost a pet since 1994 when it was established by the Society for Companion Animal Studies and over the years, in partnership with The Blue Cross, has developed to responding to thousands of calls and hundreds of emails a year from those wanting support or information about pet loss.  Recently awarded a quality standard from the Helplines Association the Pet Bereavement Support Service has proved to be an invaluable resource for our nation of animal lovers.


Karen Darke


In Karen's words: "Luckily I've got an adventurous gene ... I was a keen runner, climber and all round outdoor addict, and then at the age of 21, I fell off a cliff and became paralysed from the chest down. There [begins] ... an extraordinary new life. Just the night before my accident, I said I would rather die than be paralysed, but little did I know what lay ahead. Instead I found fortune in my misfortune, inspiration from people in similar and more challenging situations all around me, and began pursuing alternative ways to access the outdoors. ... I’ve come to learn that nothing is impossible if we set our mind and our efforts to it. I’ve had to challenge my own physical and mental barriers, completing many trips that others, including myself, believed impossible; from marathons and triathlons, to kayaking, sit-skiing and hand-cycling in some of the most inhospitable places on the planet. These trips have included a crossing of the ...mountains of Central Asia on a hand bike ... handcycling the length of the Japanese archipelago, sea kayaking a 1200 mile length of the Canada – Alaska coastline, crossing the Indian Himalaya by handcycle and skiing the Valle Blanche on a sit ski. The most physically challenging adventure was a 600 kilometre traverse of the Greenland ice cap, a month long journey across one the world’s last great expanses of wilderness. ... Climbing the kilometre high overhanging precipice of El Capitan, a giant granite rock face in Yosemite National Park, USA, was a huge mental challenge, overcoming my doubts about climbing and dread of heights, getting back on the ropes and working through the fear. 4000 pull ups felt easy in comparison to the mental obstacles. However, it was perfect preparation for what was to come next... trying to make it to the London 2012 Paralympics in the sport of handcycling, as part of the British Cycling Team. This is perhaps the biggest mental and physical challenge I've ever undertaken!"

 "Her story is not just one of the triumph of the human spirit, but of the ‘spiritual’. It’s ‘spirit’ that makes us what we are, ‘spirit’ that calls out to us in wilderness places" Sir Ranulph Fiennes


Edward Davies

Edward specialises in company and partnership law (including limited liability partnerships). His work for vets includes incorporations, partnership documents, shareholder agreements, buying and selling practices and succession planning. Edward has strong working relationships with the leading accountancy practices that specialise in working with veterinary clients.

Brian Faulkner:

Brian graduated from The Dick Vet School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh in 1995 with an intercalated Honours degree in Veterinary Pathology. He worked in mixed practice for 5 years and then as a locum in over 20 practices throughout the UK. He studied for an MBA at Nottingham Business School 2001 before setting up a small cluster of veterinary practices in Suffolk. Brian was awarded the General Practice Certificate in Veterinary Business Studies in 2005 and the GP certificate in Small Animal Medicine in 2009. He was Petplan Vet of the Year in 2008 after having been a runner-up finalist in 2007. He sold his practice in 2009 and now works as an independent consultant, clinician and lecturer within the profession. He also has a Masters in Science in Applied Positive Psychology and speaks regularly on how psychology can be applied to deliver multiple outcomes in veterinary practice


Peter Gripper

Peter Gripper is managing director of Anval Ltd which has been established for 25 years and offers independent advice on veterinary practice business with particular interest and experience in business development, profitability studies, goodwill valuation, sale of practices and objective business planning. Peter was a partner in a mixed practice in Somerset for 23 years and served on British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) council for six years as sponsorship co-ordinator and editor of Cattle Practice – the Journal of the BCVA. He was a member of the core organising committee for the Buiatrics Congress in Edinburgh in 1996. He has regularly presented on business development and practice management topics in the UK and abroad. He is a joint chair of the CVPM examination board, an external examiner for The University of Bristol Veterinary School Veterinary Nursing degree, co-Author of the textbook Veterinary Practice Management and acts as an expert witness on veterinary business matters for loss adjusters, insurance companies and personal accident claims.


Peter Marshall

Peter Marshall is Managing Director of Independent Research Services, publishers of the IRS Report and of the SPI course, which teaches how to find money to invest, how to make investment choices, how to minimize investment risk, how to maximise returns and how to keep more of it for yourself and not the Taxman.


Simon Varley

Simon is a director of Dickinsons Financial Management Ltd (DFML). Simon qualified as a Mechanical Design Engineer and worked in this capacity for 10 years, before deciding on a career change having been inspired by his marriage to an independent financial adviser whose ‘homework’ fascinated Simon more than Engineering did! This led to him resigning his engineering post and taking time out to qualify as a Financial Adviser before joining Dickinsons in the late 1990’s and becoming an equity director in 2003. The complexity and ever changing nature of the UK financial system and the varied nature of his work continue to inspire Simon to find solutions for his clients financial needs and aspirations. Simon and the team at DFML provide advice to individuals (whether the practice principal or a member of the lay staff) and businesses (be they conventional partnership, LLP or incorporated practice) across a broad range of subjects including investment planning, portfolio construction, risk mitigation, savings, retirement planning and insurance, as well as practice related issues such as succession planning, arranging funding for practice purchase or expansion, staff retention, employee benefits packages; and of course, driving up and down the country from practice to practice, the team get to see more practices in a typical month than the average Vet would experience in a life time, so it’s a rare occasion when they can’t come up with a ‘nugget’ of information to help with that difficult situation that is taking up too much of your time – and even when they can’t help, they usually know someone who can! Simon speaks regularly at events throughout the country, including almost 10 years of lectures to Veterinary students. Outside of work Simon is taxi driver for his teenage daughter, he can also occasionally be found playing a very poor game of golf, but most of all he enjoys being outdoors with his dogs either walking them, working them, or hiding under a hedge when he’s camped somewhere he shouldn’t have done – again!

Dr Ernie Ward

Dr. Ernie Ward has spent his entire career practising, writing about, lecturing on and encouraging better care for dogs and cats to popular and scientific audiences. He has been extensively published world-wide, is renowned for his speaking appearances and has twice been speaker of the year at the North American Veterinary Conference. His practice was awarded the National Practice of Excellence Award, the highest honour in the USA.  He has appeared in numerous USA TV shows, newspapers, magazines and journals. Dr. Ward shares his home with his wife, two daughters, his beach mutt “Sandy,” and two feisty felines. He is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and enjoys any extreme sport (especially those involving endurance feats). He is a certified personal trainer and USA Triathlon certified coach and Ironman finisher.

I took a long, hard look at my life and decided I wanted to seek a higher quality of life for myself, my family and the pets I served. ... I am a believer in the ‘be it, do it, share it’ philosophy.”