A VET who has dedicated his life to caring for sick and injured animals, has announced his retirement after 38 years with the same practice.

Dr Simon Gubbins joined Blacks Vets, which has practices in Dudley, Lye, Oldbury, Sedgley and Quinton, in 1984 and is finally bowing out after seeing it grow into an award-winning group of five practices.

The 65-year-old married father-of-two postponed his retirement for two years to help cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “I am leaving Blacks Vets after 38-and-a-half very happy years. It has been a real privilege.

“I have always enjoyed consulting and feel myself very lucky to have had so many lovely clients and pets to fill my days with so much pleasure!

“So many pets come to mind from time to time; those characters, that I think of as friends, some I’ve been seeing recently, some long gone, but suddenly, one will pop into my memory and make me smile.

“The other great pleasure has been working with so many fantastic colleagues.

"Enthusiastic knowledgeable vets and dedicated nurses, helping, supporting and raising standards in the care we give our patients."

Stourbridge News: Dr Simon Gubbins has been caring for animals for 38 years Dr Simon Gubbins has been caring for animals for 38 years (Image: Handout)

When Dr Gubbins, who has two children Henrietta, age 26 and Georgina, 24, joined Blacks it was just him and founder Alan Black and a husband and wife team. He said: “I’ve been involved in designing and developing the branches, beginning with a new surgery in High Street, Lye, in 1985, which I ran for many years.

“In 1989, we added a surgery in Sedgley, which I also ran for several years and that was followed by opening the Causeway Green Surgery in 1990 and, finally, the Quinton Surgery in 2005, which I ran very happily for a long time."

Clinical Director Brian Hogan said: “I I clearly remember my interview with Simon for a position at Blacks in 1996.

“He picked me up in his two-seater MG Midget convertible in the snow and, naturally, the roof was down!

“After a very informal, yet equally probing interview, he invited me to lunch at his house. My first impression was of Simon as an astute businessman with a kind, caring side who brings life to any social situation.

“I was right – and it has been an absolute privilege to have worked with Simon for the last 26 years. He has been a fantastic colleague and friend, leading by example with a joke and smile even during the most challenging times."

Colleagues arranged a retirement dinner in his honour where he was presented with a book of memories - featuring many from an annual garden party hosted by Simon at his home for all staff and their families.

He received gifts including an engraved decanter and champagne glasses and a rib tour on the Thames for him to share with his wife Nikki.

Simon is planning to swap his scrubs for sailing clothes as he looks to indulge his passion for the open seas during his retirement.