AN animal lover from Sleaford has been named as a top vet nurse of the year.
Sam Shand scooped the title for her outstanding dedication to animal welfare and for her charity work.
Sam, a vet nurse at Quarrington Veterinary Surgery in Sleaford, uses her free time to educate children and raise money for several local charities.
And as a result has been given the award from pet charity the Blue Cross.
After receiving the award Sam said: "When I heard that I was this year's winner I was completely gobsmacked.
"The news came totally out-of-the-blue and I was very moved and even quite tearful.
"It is so nice to get this recognition, not just for me but for all of the practice."
Sam was nominated by her colleagues at Quarrington Veterinary Surgery.
Practice manager Helen Fry said: "Sam is passionate about caring for animals and her enthusiasm for their welfare reaches beyond the surgery.
"Sam works tirelessly to look after the animals in our care and still has the energy to use her free time to educate youngsters and fundraise for numerous charities.
"She is currently compiling a book of animal stories to teach children about pet care. We are so very proud that she has won this award."
The award was presented during the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) Congress in Telford, Shropshire by BVNA president Claire Fraser and Stephanie Byers, Blue Cross community vet nurse.
Blue Cross head of veterinary services, Wendy Adams said: "Blue Cross has been dedicated to the health and happiness of pets since 1897 and our award recognises the hard work and commitment of vet nurses across the UK. They are the unsung heroes of animal welfare and many of them go the extra mile, working tirelessly to look after sick and injured pets and educate their communities about animal care. Congratulations to Sam who really deserves to be this year's winner."
Blue Cross relies on public donations and support to provide veterinary and re-homing services for pets in need across the UK. To find out more, or to make a donation, please visit www.bluecross.org.uk .