Man who founded Norwich vet hospital retiring after 33 years

Roger Bannock can't wait to put his feet up, but also spend as much time as possible working his gun dogs

Roger Bannock can't wait to put his feet up, but also spend as much time as possible working his gun dogs - Credit: Roger Bannock

A vet who has been at the helm of one of Norwich's only veterinary hospitals for the last 33 years says it's time for him to quit the long hours and put his feet up.

Roger Bannock founded Taverham Veterinary Hospital in 1994 alongside nurse Louise Feltham and receptionist Joy Thompson (who was also his sister, and is now practice manager).

They operated out of an extension attached to Mr Bannock's grandad's house. It was the same house he was born in, and bought off his mum when his grandad died.

Taverham Vets Hospital practice manager, Joy Thompson. The vets and nurses are meeting clients in th

Taverham Vets Hospital practice manager, Joy Thompson. - Credit: Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Copyright: Archant 2021

Guy Pitcher, a friend Mr Bannock met while studying at Cambridge University, joined him at the practice two years later in 1996 and became a partner.

But it was a long time coming. Before then, Mr Bannock had worked non-stop as the practice's only vet, dealing with call-outs during the nights and weekends.

"It was hard going to say the least", the 57-year-old said. 

As the surgery expanded, it outgrew repeated extensions.

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In 2007, the team moved into their now-home on Fir Covert Road in Taverham — and now employ around 25 vets and 90 staff in total.

Roger Bannock and his working gun dogs, who he plans to spend copious amounts of time with after his retirement

Roger Bannock and his working gun dogs, who he plans to spend copious amounts of time with after his retirement - Credit: Roger Bannock

It was the only hospital practice in Norwich for 32 years: meaning it was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

All Creatures Healthcare in Horsford became the second hospital to offer 24/7 services in the area after expanding earlier this year. 

Mr Bannock, reflecting on 33 years of work, said: "I've had a great time working at the practice, but it's time for me to move on.

"I'll still be working there four days a week, mainly doing surgery which is what I'm best at.

"But the other times I'll be working my gun dogs and gardening.

"I think it's time for me to chill out and put my feet up."

Guy Pitcher is also retiring at the end of the month.

Now living in Frettenham, Mr Bannock said he still loves spending time with animals.

Founding members of Taverham Vets, Louise Feltham, Roger Bannock and Joy Thompson celebrated 25 year

Founding members of Taverham Vets, Louise Feltham, Roger Bannock and Joy Thompson celebrating 25 years in business eight years ago - Credit: Archant

He added: "At the surgery we almost exclusively deal with cats and dogs, and occasionally rabbits.

"You do tend to form a bond with them. Some of them we've nursed from cradle to grave.

"We haven't had "exotic" inpatients that often. Though once we did end up looking after a frog.

"We originally thought it was a cat called "Frog". But no, it was an actual frog, and was brought to us in a matchbox."

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