Executive Committee

Sarah Girling


Everyday I wake and I do something that I love; I concede the theatre is a place to escape to. Achieving a successful outcome for my broken patients is a passion, a daily reward and the best positive feedback loop! My ability to repeat a successful outcome has been through a process of education and daily reflection. This process in education and my journey from new graduate (and UK immigrant) to referral practitioner would not have been the same without the support of the outstanding organization we know as the BVOA. BVOA is a great network of individuals developing concepts and sharing ideas; whatever your level of interest or involvement, the BVOA offers all of us something different and supports our orthopaedic journey. Such a journey opens doors and makes life far more interesting!

I have previously enjoyed the position of BVOA’s Education secretary and appreciate the importance of education at the core of BVOA’s objectives activities. As a keen supporter of education in our new graduates I’m keen to encourage and help young vets to get started on their orthopaedic journey and get actively involved with BVOA. I am a New Zealand graduate; I gained the RCVS Certificate in small animal surgery in 2003 and the European diploma in small animal surgery in 2007.

Mark Bush

Vice Chairperson

I qualified from Cambridge University in 1999 and later undertook a surgical residency training program in small animal orthopaedics at the University of Bristol and Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists. I hold the RCVS diploma in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics) and I am a RCVS Recognised Specialist in small animal orthopaedics. I worked for many years in two large and busy referral hospitals before establishing a referral practice close to Cambridge.

I have a number of professional interests within orthopaedics, but my principal concern during my time on the BVOA committee is addressing the relatively small number of female vets interested in the discipline of small animal orthopaedics.

Gordon Brown

Past Chairman

RCVS Diplomate and recognised specialist in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics)

Gordon graduated from the ‘Dick Vet’ in 1984 and has almost 30 years’ experience of small animal orthopaedic referral work. He gained his RCVS Diploma from practice in 2017 and has been an RCVS recognised specialist since 2019. He is co-founder and currently referral director of the Grove Referrals in Norfolk where his particular interests include complex fracture management and lameness investigation.

He is an enthusiastic advocate of career-long continuing professional development as a means of both maximising individual job satisfaction and delivering high quality, consistent outcomes from surgical interventions. Gordon is an author and editor of manuals in the current BSAVA musculoskeletal series. He is a member of the AOVET national faculty and has held BVOA committee positions as both secretary and treasurer and as chair of the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association. He is currently senior vice chair.

In his spare time Gordon enjoys family time, dog walking / hiking, outdoor / wildlife photography and listening to music – the majority on vinyl.

Ben Walton

Education Secretary (joint)

Ben is an RCVS Specialist with a career spanning mixed practice, general small animal practice, university clinical research and lecturing posts and private referral practice. He is also Research and Development Director for Fusion Implants. He been an invited speaker at several international and national conferences, and authored numerous original research papers and educational articles.

Ben performs his clinical work in the North West of England and North Wales, and has special interests including humeral fractures and fissures.

Mark Morton

Education Secretary (joint)

Mark Morton is an RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Orthopaedic Surgery. He graduated from the University of Liverpool, initially working in general practice in North Wales. He spent the next nine years at Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hertfordshire, completing a rotating internship followed by a residency in small animal orthopaedic surgery. He remained there as an orthopaedic surgeon before joining ChesterGates Veterinary Specialists in August 2016 where he is Clinical Lead. His research interests include common calcaneal tendon (Achilles tendon) injuries. He has developed and published a new surgical technique for these injuries using a new implant developed from a similar technique in people. Mark is the Clinical Lead for the RCVS Knowledge Canine Cruciate Registry. Working with colleagues, Mark is also developing a systematic and structured approach to obtaining and presenting clinical queries and Knowledge Summaries around cranial cruciate ligament ruptures. This will take the form of a decision support algorithm within the Veterinary Evidence journal. This framework will allow other clinicians to help answer clinical queries, the target being a complete algorithm that will provide practitioners with the best current evidence around this common condition.

Ian Simpson


I did my schooling and qualified in South Africa before the dawn of time, and then spent two years doing National service in the SADF. I then returned to the UK, and worked in first Opinion practices doing a mixture of GP work and Orthopaedic referrals. I gained the RCVS Certificate in Orthopaedics in 1992, and became a partner in a practice in 1999. I ran a successful referral service from there for many years until we sold to CVS in 2017. I then worked at Lumbry Park for three years, and have been freelance, with some work at Davies since. My passions are actually spinal surgery, and DPO, though I spend most of my time doing knees!! I have been on the BVOA committee as treasurer for about three years I think!

Gareth Harris

Junior Treasurer

RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Surgery

Gareth qualified from Glasgow in 1995 and then worked in a traditional mixed practice in Staffordshire before realising that horses and cows weren’t for him.

Never intending to become a surgeon, let alone develop an interest in orthopaedics, he moved to the PDSA working in clinics in the Midlands, Newcastle upon Tyne and then North London. He moved to Goddard’s Wanstead Hospital before returning to Staffordshire & Cheshire. He completed his certificate in 2005 and became a partner in a large mixed practice in Cheshire. In 2014 he moved on to become a peripatetic surgeon. Away from work, like the rest of the population, he enjoys walking his terrier and 2 Vizslas (and drinking too much).

Dr Simon Thompson


RCVS Advanced Practitioner Small Animal Surgery

A 1995 RVC graduate working as a surgeon as Charter Referrals with main clinical interests being orthopaedics, arthroscopy and diagnostic imaging. After hours there is potential for all sorts of family mischief, sailing, kitesurfing or e foiling off the North Devon Coast.

Steve Elwood

Member at Large

Hi, I graduated from Cambridge in 1985. After a year gaining a lot experience at the PDSA I moved to Lincolnshire. After three years as an assistant I became a partner and 2 years after that took over sole charge of a small animal practice near Boston in Lincolnshire. This developed into a thriving small animal practice (8 vets) with a busy Orthopaedic referral caseload. I particularly enjoyed fracture repair and spinal surgery. I have since retired and am now “giving back” to the BVOA for the excellent friendship and professional development that I have enjoyed over many years, both the formal lectures and the chats in the bar! I now enjoy helping to develop over 100 acres of woodland in the Boston area with a local charity and spending time with my family. I road cycle with a local club and when I can I enjoy yacht cruising.

Richard Meeson

Scientific Secretary

Richard trained as a vet at Cambridge University Veterinary School. Since then he completed an internship and ECVS residency in surgery at the Royal Veterinary College, during which he was awarded a clinical masters degree with distinction (MVetMed) for his work on the biomechanics of arthrodesis implants. Richard became a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and a board certified European Specialist in Surgery in 2012 and is a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Recognised Specialist. Richard also has a PhD in stem cell/regenerative medicine from UCL’s Institute of Orthopaedics. In 2020 Richard was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (FRCVS) for his contributions to clincial practice.

Richard has been Head of Orthopaedics at the Royal Veterinary College since 2018, and undertakes clinical work in the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals. Richard teaches undergraduate students and surgical residents as well as supervising masters and PhD Students. He co-manages the hip replacement programme and runs a stem cell clinic. He has published over 80 papers and abstracts, and lectures nationally and internationally. He has been a BVOA member for over 10 years, and has served as the Scientific Chair since 2015.

Rachel Jermyn