Photo of Luke Edwards

Luke Edwards

  • Lecturer in Equine Clinical Skills
  • 0151 794 6199

Luke qualified from the University of Bristol in 1996, with the distinction of being the only member of the year not to appear on the BBC TV series “Vets School”. After qualifying he worked in mixed practice in Nottinghamshire and Farm and Equine Practice in Devon, before spending twelve years working in a large Equine Practice on the Shropshire/Welsh borders.He has particular interests in colic, laminitis and equine welfare, but is quite happy to deal with any area of equine veterinary work. Luke is an Advanced Practitioner in Equine Practice and holds a Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practice in Equine Soft Tissue Surgery. In the past Luke has owned and bred his own horses (and other livestock).

Photo of Helen Braid

Helen Braid

  • Lecturer in Equine Practice
  • BSc (Hons) BVetMed MSc CertAVP(EM) FHEA MRCVS
  • 0151 794 6199

Helen graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2013, having undertaken a Bachelor's degree in Microbiology & Zoology beforehand at the University of Liverpool. Helen is from Stockport originally and is very glad to be back in the North West! She previously worked at an equine practice in Lincolnshire before joining Leahurst Equine Practice in February 2018.

Helen has a Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practice in Equine Medicine, is an RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Equine Internal Medicine and has interests in microbiology, infectious disease, neurology and laminitis. Her Master's research project focused on the diagnosis, treatment and management of cellulitis in horses by vets in the UK and was published in Equine Veterinary Education in April 2021.

Outside of work, Helen is a keen martial artist; she is a 3rd Dan black belt in Japanese Ju-jitsu and is an assistant chief instructor at her club, where she coaches on most Saturdays. Alongside her veterinary work, she also has published research in the field of martial arts. Helen also enjoys swimming, weight training and doting on her naughty cat, Spartacus.

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Ben Curnow

  • Lecturer in Equine Practice
  • 0151 794 6199

Ben graduated from Bristol University in July 2014 and worked in a large animal practice in Sheffield, dealing with horses, donkeys, cattle, pigs, and even alpacas! He then moved to a busy equine hospital in Kent to complete a year long internship, before joining Leahurst Equine Practice in 2016. Since moving to the Wirral, Ben has enjoyed meeting all of the clients and their horses, as well as exploring the beaches with his whippet sidekick, Lemon. Ben has a Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practice in Equine Practice and his areas of interest include dermatology and ophthalmology.

Photo of Iona Darroch

Iona Darroch

Iona joined the team in April 2021. Iona graduated from Liverpool in 2016 and spent two years in clinical practice before completing an internship at the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital. Iona is currently studying for a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice. In her spare time she enjoys walking her dogs (Inca and Gatsby) and spending time in the countryside.

Photo of Sarah Willson

Sarah Willson

Sarah joined the team in January 2023, having previously worked in equine practice in the north west and completed an internship at the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital. Sarah graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2015 and has interests in equine medicine. She is currently working towards a Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAVP) and is enjoying the Wirral, particularly the many opportunities it offers for walking her cheeky dachshund, Tommy.

Photo of Jo Ireland

Jo Ireland

  • Lecturer in Equine Practice
  • 0151 794 6199

After graduating from the University of Glasgow in 2000, Jo worked in equine first opinion practice, with additional time spent working in a large equine referral hospital in Sweden and as a volunteer veterinary surgeon in The Gambia for the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust. ‌In 2010, Jo obtained the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Equine Medicine – Internal) and completed her PhD in equine geriatric health and welfare at the University of Liverpool in 2011.

In October 2010, Jo joined the Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance group at the Animal Health Trust where her role involved disease surveillance and leading a nationwide vaccine trial for Equine Grass Sickness. ‌In January 2017, Jo returned to Leahurst, where her role is split between equine first opinion practice and research. Jo’s main research interests are equine epidemiology and internal medicine, particularly geriatric medicine, endocrine disorders, endocrinopathic laminitis and lower respiratory tract disease. She is a member of the British Equine Veterinary Association and the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. Jo is also a member of the Equine Veterinary Journal Study Design and Data Analysis Board and has published over 40 original research articles.  

In spring 2021, Jo began focusing on her research and postgraduate teaching full time. We miss her on clinics, but some of you may still see her out of hours as she is still providing emergency cover for us on some weekends.

Office Team

Photo of Siobhan Whitehead

Siobhan Whitehead

Siobhan has been around horses all her life. She is also a qualified BHSAI and taught at Foxes riding school for 4 years. Siobhan then took time out to travel the world and work in various equine jobs for 2 years before embarking on her time here at Leahurst. Originally part of the yard team at the hospital Siobhan then moved into the practice office after 10 years and is integral to our practice team. Siobhan continues to enjoy travelling as well as walking and reading.

Photo of Sharon Knott

Sharon Knott

Sharon is from the Wirral and began working for us in 2016. Sharon works on both the hospital and practice reception teams and in her spare time she enjoys horse riding and taking care of her nine guinea pigs, three cats and one rabbit.

Photo of Debbie Torgersen

Debbie Torgersen

Debbie is from the Wirral and has been with us since 2014. Debbie is our Practice Manager and contributes to the daily smooth running of the practice. Outside of work, Debbie has owned horses since she was a young girl and very much misses her childhood pony, Johan, who lived to the grand age of 42 years old. Debbie is also a keen traveller and is always on the look out for new holiday destinations.