The Horder Centre was founded in 1954 by Cecilia Bochenek with Dr Joyce Peake, as a charity to provide care and support to those suffering with arthritis. It was named after its first president Lord Horder, a famous physician in his day.
Cecilia Bochenek contracted Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of six and the treatment available at the time was mainly supportive. Whilst still young, Cecilia’s mission was to create a number of rehabilitation centres, providing support and care for people like her. Dr Joyce Peake was one of the first women graduates in medicine at a time when women were rarely found in the profession. She joined her friend Cecilia to found a charity, what was then called the Horder Centres for Arthritics and became the first Medical Director.
In 1960 Maureen, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava presented the charity with 13 acres of land in Crowborough, where The Horder Centre is now situated and where people continue to be cared for and treated. In memory of this donation the Dufferin Ward was named after the Marchioness. Following this donation a fundraising campaign culminated in the opening of The Horder Centre in 1966, by HRH Princess Margaret, who became the third president, after Lady Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. The site soon became a popular medical centre and residential home for people suffering from arthritis. Then in 1989, the first operating suite was opened and The Horder Centre’s therapy services were significantly enhanced.
Expansion, modernisation and continual improvement are perhaps the words which best characterise the new era for The Horder Centre which began when its current Chief Executive, Diane Thomas, was appointed in 2001. Today, the organisation has grown into a vibrant 21st Century hospital, respected nationally as a centre of orthopaedic excellence and praised by Prime Minister David Cameron as having superb outcomes. The Horder Centre now boasts three state-of-the-art operating theatres and provides the latest in diagnostic tests, including MRI.
A landmark moment in The Horder Centre’s development began with the opening of a cutting edge physiotherapy gym, a new Reception, Coffee Shop, Outpatient Consulting room suite and single en-suite bedrooms. All the bedrooms are situated around courtyards which are being landscaped to provide therapeutic outdoor spaces, to enhance the patient experience and healing. The next phase of the development includes a preadmission, admission and day care suite, all with the latest technology.
The Horder Centre now offers a wide range of musculoskeletal and orthopaedic services and treatments, provided by dedicated staff, highly skilled healthcare specialists and Consultants. Patients are referred directly to The Horder Centre by their GP, funded either by the NHS patient choice initiative, by their insurance company or self funded.
As originally intended by its founders, much of The Horder Centre’s activity is focused on rehabilitation; helping patients achieve a successful and rapid recovery from musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis. By 2014 a fantastic therapeutic centre will have been created in the heart of the Ashdown Forest, building on our heritage and moving forward to create something very unique and special.