Meet the Team




Helen Gould

Helen is the lead vet/owner of Old Hall Vets and has been vetting in Appleby since 1997.  She  enjoys being in a small community where you can really get to know the clients and their pets and give the depth of service that brings. She is an experienced general practitioner and also specialises in acupuncture for all animals.  Please see our acupuncture page. Helen has been practicing acupuncture since 1987 when she trained in China. At that time there were only a few other veterinary acupuncturists in the UK. She loves all aspects of veterinary medicine is particularly interested in the varied and valuable roles pet animals play in our society.  Helen lives locally in an eco house featured on Grand Designs together with her two sons, two cats, a dog and tank of fish. and is interested in environmental issues.  Her two sons both attend local schools and are regular helpers at the practice. Joe, the dog, is also a practice fixture and helps out by donating blood.  They all enjoy getting out and enjoying the beautiful Eden Valley.


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Joke Maes

Joke (pronounced Yoka) is originally from Belgium but now lives in Appleby with husband (also a vet) and four children.  They have lived in the Eden Valley for 14 years so are nearly Cumbrian. Their house is almost a zoo with an aviary of various birds, sugar gliders and chickens as well as the usual dog and cat.  Joke enjoys all aspects of vet medicine, particularly surgery and is currently also  completing a dermatology course.  She has recently spent time overseas working on a cat neutering programme in Rhodes and a primate research programme in Malawi.




Elizabeth Joseph

Elizabeth joined Old Hall in 2015.  She has been practising in the UK for 15 years having moved here from India. As well as Old Hall she also works in Hexham so brings a wider experience of practices.  Home is Dalston where she lives with her husband and two children.

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Margaret Pluckrose

Margaret has worked for Old Hall since 1999. She has a wealth of experience and expertise both in vet nursing and reception work. She keeps us all organised and the practice running smoothly. Margaret has lived in Appleby for many years and has a great deal of local knowledge which brings a depth of understanding in her work. She lives with her husband, Millie the dog and Jason and Kylie her two cats, all rescue animals (not the husband!)


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Sarah Towler RVN

Sarah joined the practice in September 2016, with a wealth of veterinary nursing experience spanning over 30 years. Having worked in practices in Hampshire and Kent, she moved to the Carlisle area almost 20 years ago.  Sarah shares her home with an assortment of animals from snakes and spiders to rabbits, dogs and cats - not forgetting her ex-zookeeper husband who (unsuprisingly) shares her love of animals.  Sarah has a particular interest in animal behaviour and will be running puppy socialisation and training classes from October 2016.


Gemma Smith

Gemma joined us in 2013 having previously completed level 3 in Animal Management at Newton Rigg.  As well as nursing and reception work she also helps out in the Grooming Salon and is our Health and Safety co ordinator.  She was brought up near Appleby and lives in Kirkby Stephen with her husband and two cats Seamus (rescued after an Appleby Fair incident) and Freddie (taken on from Eden Animal Rescue).


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 Sarah Mason (aka "Bunny")


Bunny was brought up on a farm near Appleby and joined Old Hall in May 2016 also having completing level 3 in Animal Management at Newton Rigg! She is currently undergoing in-house training but hopes to train as a vet nurse in the future.

Bunny's fur-family includes dogs, cats, horses and 3 rabbits - hence her new nickname! 




Claire Hudson

Claire joined us as Office Manager in May 2015.  She has great organisational abilities and keeps us functioning effectively and calmly.  Claire is Appleby born and bred and very much a part of the local community. She lives with her family in Bolton and her boys attend Appleby Grammar.