TWO Tynedale animal health experts have been recognised nationally for their contributions to the industry.

Stef Willey, store manager for Mole Country Stores in Hexham, was awarded the title of Store Manager of the Year at this year’s Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) for her work in the animal health and welfare industry.

Her job role requires her to administrate medical care to animals, along with medical and welfare advice to farmers and pet owners.

She was nominated last year but narrowly missed out, taking second place.

“I’m absolutely chuffed,” Stef said. “I love my job, and taking care of animals big and small.

“It is therefore a very proud achievement for me to be recognised for the work which I do with the farming community,” said Stef.

“But I don’t think I could have won the award without the amazing team I have behind me, so I’m thankful for their everyday help too.”

Also nominated for a SQP award in the brand new Nutritional Expertise award category was Sarah Sparks, who is based at Hexham agricultural merchants JS Hubbuck.

“I’ve worked with JS Hubbuck for 22 years, so it is nice to be recognised for the job that I do,” said Sarah.

“Especially because it is the first time the category has run.”

Sarah’s award recognises her hard work through her enrolment and training in Bimedia UK’s Nutrition Academy, an educational programme which provides accredited training to SQPs on the topic of trace element nutrition.

“It was a challenging but rewarding experience,” Sarah said.

“And receiving the nomination for my work made it even more worthwhile.”