• A fond farewell as retirement promises action-packed adventures for Jon

The team here at West Midlands Veterinary Referrals are bidding a fond farewell to Jon Mills, our co-founder and a highly respected Vet Surgeon. 

Jon co-founded and launched West Midlands Veterinary Referrals in June 2011 after he and like-minded colleague Andy Whittingham decided they wanted to launch their own practice.

The pair haven’t looked back since, as our popular referral centre continues to thrive, however, Jon now feels the time is right to step into the next chapter of his life – which promises to be just as exciting. 

Already a seasoned adventurer who has completed feats such as skiing across Greenland and a high-altitude trek in the Sierra Nevada in California under his belt, Jon’s next trip will see him climb the eighth highest mountain in the world, which is in Nepal and will be ideal training for his Mount Everest mission.

Jon said: “I have enjoyed a veterinary career of more than 30 years, having graduated from Cambridge in 1991. I spent four years in mixed practice before working for the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) between 1995 and 2004.

“I earned my RCVS Small Animal Surgery Certificate in 2000 and have worked as a referral surgeon since 2004.

“There have been many highlights over the years at West Midlands Veterinary Referrals but I especially enjoyed seeing colleagues develop, along with designing our new hospital.

“The dynamics change when you take charge of a business. You stop thinking about ‘me’ and start thinking about ‘us’. I quickly developed a paternal feel towards our fantastic team and always felt pleased when they felt they could come to us with any concerns they might have had, whether work or personal.”

Our journey began in June 2011, born from a random conversation between Jon and Andy during a drive home from the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association (BVOA) in 2010.

From a simple sketch on A4 paper, our amazing growth began in Lichfield, fuelled by the pair’s unwavering dedication and, in 2019, we moved to our current state-of-the-art facility near Burton on Trent.

West Midlands Veterinary Referrals co-founder Andy Whittingham said: “Beyond his professional role, Jon's support and guidance as a co-founder have been invaluable. His mission to ensure the team's happiness and practice success has left an indelible mark on us all.

“Jon's leadership and foresight have laid the foundation for West Midlands Veterinary Referrals continued success, and we're forever grateful for his positive impact on us.

“He’ll always be cherished by the West Midlands Veterinary Referrals family, and his presence will be dearly missed. May retirement bring Jon joy, fulfilment and new adventures.”

Longer-term, Jon has ambitions to study for a degree in conservation, volunteer abroad to help save wildlife habitats and possibly utilise his veterinary skills by working for an aid organisation.

Jon added: “West Midlands Veterinary Referrals has a great team and I’ll miss working with them every day. I’ll still do a few days here and there to help cover holidays etc, and I’ll keep a close eye on future developments at West Midlands Veterinary Referrals, which I know will continue to go from strength-to-strength.

“Andy and I have handed over the day-to-day management of West Midlands Veterinary Referrals to Fabienne and Elicia and it is nice to know that something we created, nurtured and loved is in safe hands.”