A WELL-RESPECTED veterinary surgeon described as having an exceptionally caring disposition has died, aged 68.

Until his retirement in 2008, Andrew Geldard ran Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital, in Stanhope Road, Darlington.

Originally from Darlington, he studied at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and began his career in 1967 after graduating from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh.

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His first post was in Falmouth, Cornwall, specialising in small animal care, where he met his wife-to-be, Helen.

The couple moved back to Darlington in 1970 and Mr Geldard joined David Storrar as an assistant vet as his Stanhope Park practice, before becoming a partner in the business.

Following Mr Storrar’s retirement, Mr Geldard worked unstintingly to bring the practice up to hospital standard, and in 1999 took on his partner, Micaela Wright, before renaming the practice Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital.

Although Mr Geldard was best known for his work in veterinary medicine, he also had a passion for hill walking, cooking, classical music, rugby union, steam railways and the Yorkshire Dales, in particular Swaledale and Arkengarthdale where he spent a number of family holidays.

He served as a chairman and president of Darlington Show Society and was active in local organisations over the years.

Mr Geldard died on Friday, June 27 following a long illness.

He leaves behind his wife, Helen, who remains as practice manager at Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital, daughters Esther and Charlotte, and grandchildren, Tom, Angharad, Millie and Nathaniel.

A celebration of his life will be held on Tuesday, July 8 at St Michael’s Church, Heighington, at 2.30pm followed by a private burial.

His family has requested no mourning attire and donations can be made in lieu of flowers to MacMillan Cancer Support and St Teresa’s Hospice.