DalesVet188
Mr Turner’s work has been published in The Field, The Shooting Times, The Times, The Dalesman and The Countryman.

A vet who captured the changing landscape of the Pennines and the evolution of the veterinary profession in a series of photographs has had his project turned into a book titled The Dales Vet: a Working Life in Pictures.

When Neville Turner’s career took him to the Pennines more than three decades ago, the nature lover decided to take his camera on his rounds as he wound his way around the country tending to patients.

The resulting images, which document Mr Turner’s working life, the culture of the dales and the lives of the farmers, run into tens of thousands and form a visual archive of the countryside and the changing face of the profession.

‘Literary sketches’

Dales Vet photo
Mr Turner’s book offers “a series of literary sketches woven around a selection of photographs”.

During the course of his working life in Teesdale, Mr Turner estimates he drove 35,000 miles each year for more than 30 years.

The result, the author says, is a series of literary sketches woven around a selection of photographs.

Mr Turner said: “The book tells the story of how veterinary practice has evolved, from the James Herriot era through to the 21st century.”

Modest beginnings

“When I started, it was a little four-man practice working out of two tiny rented rooms with a table, a chair, a telephone, a safe and a small fridge for the vaccines, in addition to four second-hand cars that had seen better days,” Mr Turner recalls.

Yet by the time he retired in 2000, the practice had grown considerably, boasting a range of modern apparatus and employing 14 vets and more than 20 lay staff.

Of course, comparisons have been drawn between James Herriot’s literary endeavours and Mr Turner’s book, but he insists the two are “worlds apart”.

He said: “James Herriot was the master; there is no one to touch him, but my book is a photographic autobiography.”

Published

Mr Turner pitched his idea to several publishers, but to no avail – until a meeting with an acquaintance turned his publishing fortunes around.

“I told him the sad tale of my rejection slips and he said, ‘try Old Pond Books’, and they snapped it up. They have been so enthusiastic about it.

“I am indebted to my publishers for presenting a part of my picture collection to a wider audience – both within the dale and beyond.”

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