Rye Team

Richard Williams - BVetMed, MRCVS - Veterinary Surgeon & Director
With deep familial ties in the Rye area, Richard originally came to the Practice even before his qualification which was in 1983.
Richard worked in several practices including a period in specialist equine work all over the world before returning to his roots and joining the Practice in 1989.

Richard quickly became a director, and has continued to devote all his efforts to the development of the Practice.
Richard has been at the heart of the development of the Practice for many years.  In 2001 he led the way on the development of Kingsnorth Surgery and since then was integral to the joining of forces with Milbourn Equine and the development of our clinic in Sevington.  Richard continues to enjoy most of all contact with his clients and patients alike; and although surgery will always be his “forte” he also equally enjoys equine work.
Richard lives locally with his wife and four children.  In his spare time he enjoys swimming and sailing along with lifelong interests in architecture and photography.


Luca Gaffuri - DMV, MRCVS, GPCert(Endo) - Veterinary Surgeon

Luca graduated  from the University of Milan, Italy in 2006 and became a member of the RCVS after completing an internship at the University of Washington State in the United States. Luca worked in a mixed practice in the Brecon Beacons in Wales for a short while before moving to Kent where he has practiced for the last 8 years.  During these years he developed an interest in minimally invasive surgery and achieved a GP certificate in endoscopy and endosurgery. Luca joined Cinque Ports Vets in 2016.
Luca has a private pilot’s licence and in his spare time enjoys flying over the Kent countryside.  He also enjoys travelling, sea fishing and gardening.


Sarah Startup - Group Practice Manager
Sarah has worked in veterinary practice since 1989 as a Receptionist.  Sarah joined our Kingsnorth branch when it was opened in Summer 2001, becoming Branch Manager in 2007 and Group Practice Manager of Cinque Ports Vets & Milbourn Equine in 2016.  She is assisted in her office by Izzy her rescue terrier.





Mel Stern – Branch Manager
Mel joined our Practice in 2007 taking overall responsibility for our administration and accounts at our Rye branch drawing on her experience in management and administration from previous careers. Mel is also nominated to deal with the vast majority of equine enquiries. During her spare time she enjoys all aspects of country life with Riley, her English pointer and Buddy the gypsy cob.



Tara Evans - GradDip VN RVN - Head Veterinary Nurse, Pet Health Counsellor
Tara joined Cinque Ports in 2003 where she completed her veterinary nurse training and qualified in 2006.  She became head nurse in 2008 and went on to complete her assessor training to aid the future training of student veterinary nurses within practice.  She has a keen interest in nutrition, nurse clinics and caring for needy neonates. Tara gained her Royal Canin Pet Health Counsellor qualification in 2010 enabling her to advise on a wide range of beneficial healthcare issues. Her companions at home include three cats and a bearded dragon.



Camille Richardson - Bsc RVN - Veterinary Nurse
Camille qualified as a veterinary nurse in July 2013 through the Royal Veterinary College and joined our team at Rye in January 2014.  Also in 2014 she gained her Batchelor of Science in Veterinary Nursing. Her particular areas of interest are emergency and critical care.  In her spare time, Camille enjoys taking her dog Nala for long walks and horseriding.  She is currently searching for a new horse to compete on in eventing and show jumping.



Amy Tompsett - RVN - Veterinary Nurse 

Amy qualified as a nurse in 2010, joining Cinque Ports Vets in 2016, working at our Rye and Tenterden branches. Amy enjoys all aspects of veterinary nursing but is particularly interested in feline nursing and behaviour and running nursing clinics. At home, Amy is kept busy with her young daughter and has two rescue cats, Maggie and Betty.





Ruth Hubbard - RVN - Veterinary Nurse

Ruth qualified as an RVN in 2010 and joined Cinque Ports Vets in 2016 after locuming for us for a few months.  In her spare time Ruth enjoys taking her dog Darwin, rescued from the Dogs Trust, for country walks.  She also has a cat called Chewey.  Ruth’s other hobbies include motorcycling and netball.




Issy Le Pla - Trainee Veterinary Nurse
Issy first joined Cinque Ports Vets in October 2014 at our Hawkhurst branch for work experience.  In July 2015 she transferred to our Rye branch as Auxillary Nursing Assistant with the aim of training  to become a fully qualified veterinary nurse.  Outside of work Issy is an accomplished Western rider successfully competing on her horse Sushi, and representing Britain in America and Europe.  One of her great achievements has been to win an FEI bronze medal.  Aside from riding Issy enjoys spending time with her Labrador, Hallie.



Jan Weightman - Receptionist
Jan joined the team at Cinque Ports in 1997 after a career in the N.H.S. and Civil Service.  She has always said it was an excellent move and enjoys her work enormously.  Jan shares her home with two horses and two cats.  Jan rides as much as possible and regularly takes part in local riding events.  Her other hobbies include ballroom dancing and Le Rock!




Joss Pattemore - Receptionist
Joss came to work at Cinque Ports Vets in 1997 after working at an equine stud for a number of years.  She uses her experience as a horse and dog owner to reassure clients in her role on our reception.


Bernardine Fiddimore - Receptionist

Berni first worked for the Practice in 1979 where she fulfilled a number of roles before moving onto a career in retail management. After the birth of her daughter she has returned to the Practice as a general assistant and receptionist, bringing a wealth of experience with animals gained at her family's boarding kennels and cattery business. Berni has extensive management and marketing skills with which she helps to promote the Practice. Outside of work Berni is interested in public affairs and is very active on the Rye Town Council. In May 2014 Berni was inaugurated as the Right Worshipful Mayor of Rye.



Rebecca Rhodes - Receptionist
Rebecca joined our team at Rye in July 2015. During her spare time Rebecca enjoys visiting galleries and has even exhibited some of her own work.  Rebecca also has two cats and a Novia Scottia Duck Tolling Retriever called Peggy.




 Catherine Oakley- Nursing/Reception Assistant

Catherine joined us in September 2015 as a Reception/Nursing Assistant. She previously worked for a number of years at a local rehoming centre as an animal welfare assistant and dog behaviourist. Catherine has owned dogs from Wolfhounds to Chihuahuas and currently owns a Chinese Crested, Chihuahua and Precious, her 14 year old Pug. Catherine also keeps reptiles, a rabbit, guinea pig and a skinny pig, all of whom keep her very busy!




Paula Pearce - Receptionist

Paula joined us in 2017 having previously worked at the Blue Cross until its closure in 2016. In her spare time Paula enjoys walking, particularly the British coastal paths. She especially likes to take her daughter's Labrador along with her on these walks.  In the past Paula has bred Cocker Spaniels.



 Pat Benn - Receptionist

Having joined us in 1991, Pat is a highly experienced veterinary receptionist.  In 2015 she left the practice to go travelling including driving across Australia in a Camper Van.  On her return to the UK Pat re-joined our reception team providing the occasional holiday cover. Her interests include music festivals, camping and travelling.

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