TRIBUTES have been paid to a much-loved Cheshire vet.

Doctor Fiona Hughes has been described as “the heart and soul” of Winsford Veterinary Surgery following her death, aged 51.

Fiona, the practice’s branch manager, died from breast cancer over the August Bank Holiday weekend at St Luke’s Hospice in Winsford, leaving behind her husband Will and wider family.

Her colleagues have since paid tribute.

Lin Burke, group practice manager for Willows Veterinary Group, said: “Fiona was a highly-skilled, hard-working and dedicated vet who went above and beyond to provide the best possible care for her patients. 

“She was an outstanding role model who was always ready to support junior colleagues, and will be remembered for her compassion, selflessness, positivity and strong work ethic. She was the kind of vet who lived and breathed her work and always said that if you cut her in half, she would have Willows running through her.

“Fi was also a great friend to so many and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with her husband Will, her father and brother as well as her wider family, at this very difficult time.”

Northwich Guardian: Winsford Veterinary SurgeryWinsford Veterinary Surgery (Image: Google Maps)

After graduating from Glasgow Veterinary School in 1995, Fiona spent most of her veterinary career with the Willows Veterinary Group, starting at Beech House Vets in Warrington.

From 1999 Fiona, who lived in Hartford, went on to lead the team at Winsford Vets.

She is credited as playing a key role in the practice’s success and oversaw the expansion and relocation to its current site on High Street in 2014.

During the Covid pandemic, Fiona remained in isolation due to her ongoing treatment for breast cancer.

Despite this, she was the first to volunteer to answer the clinical support phone lines and also carried out remote consultations, as well as continuing to check on her team at Winsford Vets and across the Willows Group.

As well as her love for animals, in particular her own pet chihuahuas, Fiona kept busy with her work for the church and with amateur dramatics.

Her funeral will be held on Monday (September 18) at 2pm at St John’s Church in Hartford, followed by a celebration of her life in the Church Hall.

Anyone who knew her is welcome to attend and the family has asked for any donations made in Fiona’s memory to go to St Luke’s Hospice in Winsford.