Hastings vet ‘hanging up stethoscope’ after 37 years

Paul Cooper SUS-161213-143749001
Paul Cooper SUS-161213-143749001

A well-known Hastings vet is retiring after 37 years at his practice but said it was a ‘tough decision’ to ‘hang up his stethoscope’.

Paul Cooper said he is stepping down as clinical director of Coopers Vets in January due to old age and to spend more time for travelling and training vets.

The 64-year-old veterinarian said it has been fascinating helping generations of pet owners at his practice on The Ridge and feels honoured to have been trusted by them.

“The job involves 12-hour days and standing on your feet all day, and I’m at the age where my knees and back give me quite a lot of discomfort,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, the time has come to put down my stethoscope and stop full-time work.”

Paul set up Coopers when he came to Hastings nearly four decades ago and boasts one of the only purpose-built veterinary practices in East Sussex and Kent.

The much-loved vet specialises in animal dentistry and takes referrals from around the country – he plans to spend some of his retirement teaching veterinary students in the field.

Paul said the work has changed a lot since he started as now pets’ life expectancy is much higher and diseases such as cancer can be treated these days.

“The vet work has changed significantly, it’s got a lot more scientific and a lot more technical, plus there’s a lot more we can do,” he said.

“When I first came here cancer was a death sentence but now it’s not, we can treat it.”

Lindsay Sissons will take over from Paul as clinical director at the practice

Away from the practice, Paul has made the news with his exploits in ‘extreme ironing’, which saw him tackle an obstacle course carrying irons and boards in 2003.

The vet also ran the world’s largest obstacle course in 2015, this time without the iron, but at the end he decided to turn back and do it again.

Leaving Coopers was a tough decision for Paul but he wished all his clients and their pets well.

“Making the decision was quite hard, but I’m not moving away, people will still see me walking my dog on the Fire Hills or in Alexandra Park,” he said.

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