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Hello, I'm Darren

Practice Manager 

I am very people centric and collaborative in my approach to managing people and resources and Beacon VetCare just feels so right. It wants to do things differently to the benefit of its people, its clients and the animals it cares for and being a part of making that positive difference to people’s lives has always been something I’ve looked for..

I was born in Birmingham but grew up and raised in Tamworth in Staffordshire. I was a keen footballer and started playing competitively in a local Sunday league team from the age of 9yrs and continued playing at a high level through to the age of 18yrs. I also played for my school and Tamworth Schools from an early age. My Dad was probably my biggest supporter, but I do recall my Mum coming to a Staffordshire Schools Final I was playing in when I was at primary school. It was probably one of only a handful of times Mum came to see me play, not least of all because on that day, wielding her umbrella on the touchline, she became very excited and quite animated. Waving her brolly at the ensuing spectacle, she inadvertently and quite by accident, hooked the linesman by his neck with her brolly handle! There was quite a commotion on the side of the pitch which resulted in play being stopped and my Mum being asked to go and stand behind the goal, I think to ensure that the official was not harangued by my Mum, accidently or otherwise! At the age of 10yrs, you can imagine my embarrassment!  As for pets, I recall us having two budgies, Tom & Jerry. To this day I’m not entirely sure how Mum was persuaded to have birds as she was always scared of anything that flapped around her head, which Tom & Jerry had a habit of doing when they were let out of their cage!


When and why did you first decide to work in a veterinary practice in your role?

I’d worked in manufacturing for many years, but the covid pandemic hit the industry very hard and our overseas exports and UK markets simply stopped. I was forced to look for other work and it was a conversation with a recruitment agent that sparked my veterinary industry journey. I’d applied for a role that sounded very interesting but it wasn’t until I’d been speaking with the agent for over 20 minutes, that he revealed the job was actually working for a veterinary practice! I was put forward, interviewed, short listed and subsequently offered the role, working at that time for an independent practice. At the same time, I’d also been offered another role, working for a manufacturer in Birmingham, within ¼ mile of where my grandparents had lived and ironically, where I’d spent most Saturdays during my childhood. As tempting as that offer was though, I wanted a different challenge and the veterinary industry had sparked my curiosity and interest.


What do you find particularly interesting or exciting about your role in practice?

I think it’s the people. My wife calls me “nosey” but I consider myself to be simply interested in people, who they are, what motivates them, why they do what they do etc. I’ve worked all over the world and I’ve been fortunate to have worked and met some fascinating people. Listening to their stories and journeys in life has been hugely rewarding.


Was your role what you first expected?

Before first coming in to the industry, I’d read about the veterinary world. Mental ill health and rates of suicide within the profession were a surprise at first. Working though in that environment and seeing the pressure of providing health care in a first opinion practice, it was clear to see how and why mental wellbeing was very firmly on the agenda and upper most in a lot of people’s minds. 


My previous jobs?

I think my career to date is referred to as a “portfolio” career. I worked in corporate health and well-being in London for 10 years, worked for one of the oldest public schools in the UK, before moving to Cornwall where I launched a multi-million pound fitness and spa centre on a luxury golf and country club. From there I worked for a lighting manufacturer before once again embarking on a role in retail and leisure for many years. Prior to starting work for Beacon I spent about 8 months living and working in Ecuador. I was the Chief Operating Officer for a chain of family indoor play centres located throughout Ecuador and Peru. A challenging job, not least of all because I had to learn to speak Spanish, particularly as the bulk of the 350 plus employees we had working, spoke little English! With every role I’ve enjoyed, regardless of whether it has been working in retail, leisure or manufacturing, managing people and resources to achieve business goals and ambitions has been hugely rewarding and satisfying.


What’s your interests aside from your professional life?

Sports, hobbies, places to visit – and how do you follow them down here in Cornwall, any clubs etc? Having completed a Joint Honours Degree in Sports Science and Geography (many years ago now!), I’ve always been active and tried to remain fit. I enjoy running, road cycling and spin classes, although I’m not so sure my hips and knees now thank me! 


What are your local connections?

I was a Newquay Town Councillor for about two years but had to relinquish that role when I moved away. I am though the Treasurer for a local care home in Perranporth which I’ve done for many years. Whilst I’m not directly involved in delivering the care to the residents, knowing that I’ve played a small part in ensuring they enjoy whatever life they have remaining and that life is as stimulating and as comfortable as they deserve, is very humbling.  


Tell us about your pets?

My wife and I have a very petite Jack Russel called Roxy. She’s almost 14yrs and although she’s partly deaf and going blind, she still has attitude and although I’m still yet to discover what the post lady has ever done to upset Roxy, Roxy will insist on attacking the letterbox and then proceeding to chase the imaginary figure of our post lady through the house and in to the back garden, barking as she goes. She is though one of the most affectionate animals I’ve ever known, loving to be cuddled and get as close to you as she can on the sofa.


Why have you chosen to live in Cornwall? What makes this place special to you?

I relocated to Cornwall over 27 years ago, deciding that Cornwall was a much better place to raise our 1yr old son at the time, soon followed by our daughter. I’ve now spent half of my life (showing my age now!) living and working in a county that I can only describe as beautiful and inspiring. The volcanoes and Andean mountains in Ecuador are special but nothing beats home here in Cornwall. 


Favourite walks, places to visit, restaurants, pubs in Cornwall

I’ve walked and cycled extensively throughout Cornwall and there is no one stand out place for me. I simply love Cornwall. As for pubs, you can’t get much better than having a traditional pub literally 10 min walk or stagger away! Walking in to your local and the landlord or landlady knowing you personally and what you drink is quite heart warming, although given them knowing me so well, I might need to look at the frequency with which I’m in there!


Why do you think owners should choose to register their pets and join Beacon VetCare?

Beacon has a moto, albeit it’s one that we haven’t yet promoted widely, but “we try and find a way to say yes”. I think our clients will see the benefits of that attitude played out in the care we afford them and their pets. I believe this attitude and belief will manifest itself in many ways, including offering what we know to be the best in market preventative health care plans, to ensuring that the price of our wrap around services and products are set at sensible and realistic levels. Money, whilst important, won’t be the overriding motivation for the business and putting the client and their pets well being first and foremost will become very apparent to our clients. Plus, to use the football analogy Colin has described to me, we are the Real Madrid, the Manchester City or United’s of the veterinary world here in Cornwall. Because of who we are and what we represent, we have attracted and have amongst us some of the brightest and most talented veterinary professionals this business has to offer who are all motivated to provide care that is appropriate for our clients. It’s for that reason, I’d be asking our clients why would they want to go anywhere else! 

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