A VET who has been part of the community for nearly 30 years is now celebrating his retirement.

Paul Wilson, of Wilsons Vets has been a major part in many peoples lives in Bishop Auckland.

Since starting his vets in 1993 on Tenters street, he has overseen generations of families and pets.

When Mr Wilson started his vets, he had one vet and five part time staff available, upon retiring 28 years later, the vets now has 20 vets and 64 staff.

Mr Wilson said: “It’s been phenomenal growth but its down to the team, the clients and the loyal customers.

“When we bought the premises, it had not moved with the times, and it had not had much money put into it.

“We put the time and energy in it and it has gone well, you’ve got to invest your mind body and soul into it.

“Some of the most memorable moments for me is the relationships you build with the clients and their pets.

“There maybe a ten per cent chance that the pet may survive a surgery, but they put their faith and trust in you. It is a huge responsibility.

“I have seen pets that love you, and pets that hate you and bite you."

Mr Wilson, who is originally from Australia, trained as a vet in his home country, practicing on sheep and cattle.

Mr Wilson initially wanted to become a farmer but ‘fell into’ the role of being a vet.

He would travel many miles on Australia’s outback to reach clients sometimes going on a 700km roundtrip.

He moved to the UK in 1990 and took the opportunity to found his own vets when the premises on Tenters street came up for sale in 1993.

Mr Wilson is just one vet in a whole history of vets on the street with the earliest record being 1873.

In 2016 he moved from his role as a vet to be the Area Manager for the VetPartners group that run Wilson’s Vets. The role saw him manage vets from Bishop Auckland, Sunderland, Durham and Hartlepool.

He added: “My advice to anyone is that if your passionate about something you will be able to achieve it.

“For a lot of people, they don’t know what it is like being a vet. It is really important for people to get work experience beforehand because it’s a very high pressure and high intensity job.

“Anyone can be anything if they put the work in."