Dorothy Purdew OBE 1932 - 2023
The spa industry is in mourning following the passing of Champneys Spa's owner and chairperson Dorothy Purdew OBE.
Dorothy, who has died aged 91, established herself as one of the world's most influential spa operators after growing up in Clapham and starting her first business, WeightGuard, in 1970. This was followed by the opening of her first Health Farm, Frimleys in 1978.
Alongside her late husband Bob and son Stephen Purdew, Dorothy purchase Henlow Grange in Bedfordshire, which was followed by Springs Hydro in Leicestershire, Forest Mere in Hampshire and Champneys Tring in Hertfordshire, founding the Champneys group.
In recent years, Dorothy and Stephen added Eastwell Manor in Kent and Mottram Hall in Cheshire to their portfolio. The Champneys brand now said to have a value of over £300 million.
Dorothy was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the health spa industry and charity in 2008, founding the Champneys Charitable Foundation to support charities including Ryder Hospices, NSPCC, Tommy's The Baby Charity and others.
In a statement announcing Dorothy Perdew's passing, Champneys said:
“Dorothy could never believe a girl from a working-class background could become one of the world's most influential spa operators. Champneys became her life. Even into her nineties, she would read the guest feedback every morning, eager to learn of how the business could improve.”
Dorothy Purdew OBE is survived by her sons Stephen and Simon, grandchildren James, Daisy, Robert, Raffaella, Barnaby and great grandchildren Charlie, Olivia and Henry.