DOWN the years Claire Fairclough has treated poorly koalas and out-of-sorts orang-utans, and worked in places as far afield as Australia and South Africa.

However it is her job closer to her St Helens home which earned her a nomination for a Vet of the Year award.

After graduating from Cambridge University Veterinary School in 2006, Claire began working in veterinary practices and hospitals throughout the UK and abroad.

Spending a year as a mobile vet in Australia saw her treat a host of animals, including koala bears.

In Borneo Claire’s studied orang-utans, and she added further strings to her bow in a veterinary support scheme in South Africa.

Back in the UK, Claire, formerly of Haydock but now living in St Helens town centre, has established a mobile veterinary service called Vetround2u, which makes call-outs to pet owners’ homes.

She is based in St Helens, but the popularity of her service has reached across the north west.

The business was established after Claire picked up on repeated difficulties clients were having when trying to visit normal surgeries.

The 30-year-old, an ex-Haydock High and Carmel College student, said: “Every day you would hear a client say ‘I’ve had so much trouble trying to get my cat into this basket’ or ‘My dog hates coming to the vets’.

“I had to do something about it.”

The feedback from owners is that pets, such as cats and dogs, remain more relaxed when receiving treatment in a familiar environment.

Claire is studying for a certificate in soft tissue surgery and is maintaining her specialist interest of ophthalmology, the study of eyes in animals.

All of this has contributed to her being recognised by insurance company PetPlan in what were dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of the veterinary world.

She missed out on the overall prize, but believes the nomination underlined her compassion and hard work.