Chris Platts - Laboratory Supervisor
Chris as the title suggests looks after the day to day running of the laboratory. The role of Laboratory Supervisor has only recently been made with Chris starting at the beginning of 2014. He is the link between the Path Lab and the other departments at The Donkey Sanctuary. He works very closely with Research, the Vet and Farm departments. One of Chris’s main projects at the moment is updating The Path Lab "Working Practice Manual".
Chris has a little two year old girl who makes him work just as hard at home as he does at work. When he gets the chance at the weekends he plays football for his local team.
Valerie Patrick - Senior Laboratory Technician
Val has a vast amount of experience of working in laboratories and has worked at The Donkey Sanctuary for over 20 years. Val is the first person any of the Lab Technicians go to if we have any queries on the lab techniques. Val is in charge of the lab when Chris is away and looks after the checking of the stock and extensive amount of reagents that are needed for the analysers.
Kim Trahar, Sophie Thomson, Ryan Trawford and Sarah Long - Laboratory Technicians
The Laboratory Technicians perform the routine blood and faecal analysis that are part of the day to day running of the laboratory. They also make sure that the four blood analysers are operating smoothly and try to fix any problems that may occur with the analysers. Since the lab is divided into a ‘blood lab’ and a ‘dung lab’ the lab technicians are on a rota to ensure the work load is fairly divided. This means that the lab technicians have a variety of different jobs to perform.
Kim has a slightly different role to the rest of the laboratory technicians. She inputs the data produced at the lab into the Sanctuary database system and trains new users from other departments on how to use the database. Her overall role is mainly on the admin side of the laboratory.
Kim, Sophie, Ryan and Sarah bring many skills to the department having between them a broad range of education and experience outside of The Donkey Sanctuary.
Kim has a four year old boy and when she gets time is a keen gardener.
Sophie likes to bake and has brought in many cakes and other treats for the lab staff; she also likes reading and is an expert bargain hunter.
Ryan has lived and travelled to many countries including Botswana, Yemen and most of South America. At home he likes to walk the dog and watch sport when he gets the chance.
Sarah has a black Labrador called Oli who she takes to agility and obedience classes. Sarah even takes Oli to dog competitions and Oli is the proud winner of the ‘Fastest Bonio Eater’.
Allan Emmett - Anatomical Pathology Technician
Allan’s role is to perform the post mortem examination on every donkey, mule, horse or pony at the Sanctuary which unfortunately has to be euthanized or is found dead. At the moment without a pathologist in post he also writes the post mortem forms which the vets will read. These post mortem forms provide a valuable resource for the ongoing research which helps to save and extend the donkeys' lives at the Sanctuary. It means that we are a centre of excellence in the sphere of donkey health and well-being.
Allan outside of the Sanctuary is a sheep farmer. He also has numerous other hobbies such as bee keeping, welding and fabricating machinery. He owns a ball mad collie called Willow and teaches flyball in his own competitive Flyball Dog Club.
Robert Buckland - Pathology Assistant
We have a van which has been specifically designed for the (discreet) collection of the donkeys. Rob is the main driver of the van; he is highly qualified for the role with many years’ experience of working in this area.
Rob in his free time is a keen horse rider and can often be found at Exeter racecourse having a flutter on the races. If you need a tip for the Grand National Rob is your man.