In the early years of PAWS, the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) was very helpful in finding volunteer vets and nurses to go to Paxos and work for PAWS. Conditions were initially far from ideal: surgery was carried out 'al fresco' under an olive tree or in someone's garden, with a makeshift canopy erected on the balcony during unfavourable weather conditions.
Without exception all the volunteers that have worked for PAWS have been conscientious and uncomplaining and a huge thank you goes to all of them. Pictures of many of our volunteers can be found in the photo gallery.
Since 2009, James Forbes and Russell Lyon with Zoe Tomkinson have become regular PAWS volunteers and are greatly loved and respected by everyone on the island.
In 2014 PAWS had three new vets and three new nurses joining as volunteers. Mike Houlihan, Rick Appleton and Andrea Rhodes were the vets and Harriet Rhodes, (Andrea's daughter who qualified as a vet in 2016),Mandy Cooper and Sue Scott were the vet nurses.
James Forbes retired in 2014 but keeps in touch as he continues to travel and explore the world.
Russell Lyon retired from PAWS at the end of his May visit in 2017.
In 2015, PAWS was delighted when Greek vet Nefeli Damigou offered to help at the PAWS clinic. She is a wonderful vet and has provided over the last 2 years an excellent veterinary service throughout the winter months. She is a great asset to PAWS and we will do our best to keep her in Paxos!
On Paxos, Faye Lychnou has given unstinting support to PAWS both at the clinic and before when we had temporary premises. In 2016 Ann Hadjianstasiou very kindly volunteered to assist Nefeli when working at the clinic. PAWS sincerely thanks them both.
Details of the team can be seen below:
Russell Lyon is a farmer’s son from Quothquan, Biggar, Lanarkshire. At an early age he realized that a farmer’s life was not for him and he instead went to the Royal School of Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh from where he graduated in 1967. He left Scotland soon after to pursue his professional career in the Fens of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk but has always retained his proud Scottish identity.
He was a partner and then principal in a very successful mixed practice for many years but in addition had a parallel career in writing. He is the author of nine books and innumerable magazine articles and has made regular contributions on Radio Norfolk, Radio Cambridgeshire and Radio Scotland. He has appeared on Grampian TV and the Landward series for BBC Scotland where he successfully demonstrated the ancient whispering methods.
He went to Hong Kong in 2005 and spent over 18 months living, working and loving every hectic minute of his time there. He returned to England to work as a veterinary surgeon, mostly in small animal practice, and continues to write.
He is now a freelance self-employed veterinary surgeon who works part time for various practices in and around north-west Norfolk. He has been working in Paxos since 2009 with Zoe Tomkinson, a vet nurse from Manchester. They are a fantastic team and greatly appreciated by everyone.
He is married to Chris and has two daughters, a stepson and seven grandchildren.
Nefeli Damigou trained at Aristotle University and School of Veterinary Medicine in Thessaloniki qualifying in 2010.
Since qualifying, she has had several Internship placements in Greece and further afield in Thailand and Israel.
She currently works for the Paphiakos Educational and Animal Welfare Rescue Clinic where she deals with both private clients as well as stray cats and dogs.
Nefeli has also attended several veterinary seminars, carried out various research assignments which included a publication on Dolphin Therapy at the Hellenic Veterinary Conference in Athens and in the journal of the Hellenic Veterinary Medical Society.
During her discussions with PAWS about working on Paxos, it was evident that Nefeli is not only fluent in English, but she is very enthusiastic, professional and caring and we are delighted that she has joined the team.
Lindsay, the Director of PAWS, qualified as a pharmacist in 1970 and owned her own business in Three Bridges, Sussex from 1978-1989. She then had a career change when she moved to Italy and ran a small hotel in Tuscany for three years. Since returning to the UK, she continued to work as a pharmacist both as a manager and as a locum until retiring at the end of 2014. She has always loved caring for animals and has been a volunteer for the Cinammon Trust since 1994.
Since starting PAWS in 2005, her knowledge of treating and caring for animals has improved greatly. She has very much enjoyed helping James Forbes, Jonathan Yeatts and Nefeli Damigou as a trainee vet nurse.
She moved back to Sussex in 2012 and in her spare time likes walking, reading, playing bridge and going to the theatre. She is also currently trying with great difficulty to learn Greek!
Faye graduated from Athens Law School and was a founding member of the Athens Law School Legal Aid office. She was a member of the research team of the Athens University Institute for Health, Social Insurance and Social Welfare (EPIKAIP) for 5 years and a member of the administration team for the European Program of Student Training (EPEAEK) for 3 years. After this she was a member of the Writers’ Team of the National Children’s Health Report for the Greek Ministry of Health to the United Nations.
In 2000, she returned to live permanently in Paxos.
Since then she has continued to volunteer and help the island in so many different ways. She represents Paxos on the Task force for European Cultural Villages, has helped with projects for both 'Youth Action' and the 'Elderly in Europe'. In 2006, she wrote the book 'The Paxiot Workshop in Action'. She is a trustee and producer of the Paxos Festival, director of the Poseidon Sports Club and an indomitable supporter of PAWS since 2005 and one of its Trustees. Her linguistic skills are amazing, speaking English, French and Italian fluently as well as basic German and Spanish!
She is the proud 'Mum' of two rescue dogs Melina and Delon (see photo below) and cares for a menagerie of about 18 cats at her home in Magazia.
Jonathan Yeatts qualified from Liverpool University Veterinary School in 1980 and has worked exclusively in small animal practice since then, in Hampshire and Surrey, before settling in Worthing in 1984. In 2008 Jonathan left his Worthing practice to seek new experiences and has been working as a locum in the South-East.
He read about PAWS in a newsletter left at the ARK veterinary practice in Burgess Hill where Lindsay and her dog Harry are now registered. He joined the PAWS team and visited Paxos for the first time in May 2013 to work with James Forbes.
He moved to Southend in 2014 and will be retiring from paid work at the end of 2017. We hope that he will return to Paxos as a volunteer with his wife Ros.
Away from work, he is interested in most aspects of natural history and has a particular interest in wild orchids.
Rick Appleton is from Warrington in Cheshire and qualified as a vet from Liverpool university in 2010. He currently works at Stanley House Vets, a small animal practice in Lancashire. He also has an honours degree in veterinary pathology and spent a month of his final year elective working in South Africa on game reserves. He has also worked on a pig farm in Australia for a year so should have stories to share with James!
He worked for PAWS in October 2014 and 2015 and we very much hope that he will become a regular volunteer.
Away from work, Rick has a keen interest in music, theatre and cinema. He enjoys acting and has been involved in several amateur productions. He is also a keen photographer and traveller as well as enjoying extreme sports. PAWS has yet to arrange a bungee jump from the Tripitos arch!
In 1995 Andrea became Gatwick Airport’s Official Veterinary Surgeon responsible for the importation of meat and other products of animal origin, a position she held for 10 years. During this time she reduced her PDSA work to join Vetcall as a part time emergency vet. Andrea has worked part time for other small animal practices and so is often a familiar, reassuring presence for owners during emergency visits to Vetcall.
At home Andrea has two horses, two dogs, a cat and her husband’s racing pigeons, so her children were brought up with a variety of animals. Being surrounded by animals has dissuaded her son from following in his parents’ footsteps; he has a degree in history and politics from Oxford and is now doing a graduate law degree. Her daughter though has followed her parents’ example and is now a second year vet student at Liverpool University. Now the children have grown up, Andrea’s interests have diversified again and she spends several weeks a year doing volunteer veterinary work abroad.
Mike Houlihan and Mandy Cooper have worked together for nearly 30 years and heard about PAWS on Paxos through Albert Walker who made our anesthetic machine. Mike was born and raised on a small holding in Ireland where he developed his love of animals. After qualifying as a vet in 1985 from Dublin, he worked briefly in Ireland but since then has stayed in the UK. He has broad veterinary experience with 16 years in general practice and 12 year in the Government veterinary service where he learnt a great deal about animal welfare and disease and gained a MSc from the Royal Veterinary College in London. From 2002 until the present time he has worked for DEFRA and is involved with welfare, medicine residues and post import investigations on horses. He enjoys walking, swimming and sports cars of which only the first two can be accommodated on Paxos!
Mandy Cooper qualified in 1984 and has worked at various veterinary surgeries in Staffordshire and Cheshire. She is currently the sole veterinary nurse for a local charity in Stoke - the Hazel Blakeman Animal Clinic. The clinic's prime objectives are dog neutering but have recently expanded to cover other procedures. Mandy enjoys yoga, stone and wood carving and tends to the needs of her black cat Horace.