Veterinary professionals, charity workers and volunteers were honoured at the annual Ceva Awards for Animal Welfare.

Vet of the Year John Knight and Welfare Nurse of the Year Hayley Walters.

At a glittering ceremony at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham, they were praised for their outstanding contributions to animal welfare in the UK and abroad.

Winner of the Chris Laurence Vet of the Year Award, sponsored by Veterinary Times, was John Knight of the Guernsey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA).

The judges said his excellent welfare work both at home and further afield made him stand out as a candidate.

“His contribution to the GSPCA and work as senior vet for the Born Free Foundation testify his dedication to the cause of animal welfare around the world,” they said.

Mr Knight, a partner at The Vetcare Centres in Guernsey, said there were not many awards that recognised those in the veterinary field, so this was very special.

“It’s a real honour because there have been so many fantastic people nominated for this award,” he said. “You hear wonderful stories about their work for animals in all sorts of areas, so to have actually been awarded the prize is fantastic.

“I work with wonderful people and have a great team in Guernsey – in a way, this is their award too. Charities are all having a difficult time because of the financial situation around the world, so this award really highlights the work being done.

“I hope it will help the whole charity sector get recognition and in turn, raise money to support them.”

Winner of the Welfare Nurse of the Year Award, sponsored by VN Times, was Hayley Walters, who works in the anaesthesia department at the University of Edinburgh Hospital for Small Animals and at the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

The judges said her extensive volunteer work across the globe “shone as an admirable example of a veterinary professional going above and beyond the call of duty”.

Miss Walters won the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons VN Golden Jubilee Award in 2014.

The Ceva Awards are now in their fourth year and this year, received the highest number of entries, with hundreds of nominations.

Speaking at the ceremony, head judge Chris Laurence said: “This year’s winners should be exceptionally proud – standing out among impressive competition, the judges were harder pressed to choose, but each award has gone to a deserved winner.

“For those considering submitting their welfare heroes next year, my best piece of advice remains to supply the judges with as much information as they can, to assist the judges with their decision process. It was heartening to see so many accounts of incredible welfare work being carried out around the world.”

The other winners were:

  • Farm Animal Welfare Award, in association with the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and the National Animal Disease Information Service – Becky Whay of the University of Bristol.
  • Charity Professional of the Year, in association with PDSA – Melissa Liszewski of The Brooke.
  • Charity Team of the Year, in association with Your Cat and Your Dog magazines – International Aid for the Protection and Welfare of Animals.
  • Volunteer of the Year Welfare Award, in association with Blue Cross – Gwen Butler of Bunny Burrows.
  • International Cat Care AwardBrigita Kymantaitė of Lithuania.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, in association with Ceva Animal Health – Angela Humphries of Greyhounds In Need.
  • Special Recognition Award, in association with Agria – Friends of Manchester Dogs Home.

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