We are very proud of our history of providing Physiotherapy in Haywards Heath for over a hundred years.
It is quite a story!
Leonard Howell was with the Sussex Regiment and served in the Somme during the 1st World War. He got injured with a leg wound, got rehabilitated and then went back out to France.
Unfortunately, he was at the receiving end of an exploding shell, which meant that he was left for dead on the battlefield. However, a kind fellow soldier, whom he knew for the rest of his life, realised that he was still alive and carried him to the medics. The medics were prioritising and left Leonard, as they thought that he was too badly injured to survive, but he was still alive the following morning and so care commenced.
He was sent back to England and onto St Dunstan’s, which was in London at the time.
At this time, he met a nurse, Ms Bennet, who was from Nottingham, and they later married.
At this time, Leonard decided to undertake training as a blind masseur (see Photo of training with some colleagues) He later took some additional training, which qualified him to be a chartered physiotherapist.
If the war had not occurred, it is likely that he would have followed his father into being an orchid grower, as he had started this work before he joined The Sussex Regiment.
Leonard started his practice in Haywards Heath and soon moved the practice to 31 Perrymount Road, which is now where the Lloyds bank building is. When he first started out, he used to do some home visits, relying on his wife to ride at the front of a tandem bike, to help him.
Leonard’s son Bryan Howell, served in the Navy during the second world war and then followed Leonard into Physiotherapy, training in London.
His wife, June, ran the administrative side of things, in between working as a nurse and looking after the family.
Nigel Howell, who is Lead Physio / Director at the practice, followed the tradition, qualifying at Pinderfields college of physiotherapy in 1990 and having worked as a physiotherapy helper on the neuro unit at Brighton general, in 1986/7.
The practice moved in 1975 to 11 Heath Road, Haywards Heath, where it stayed until June 2022, when we moved it into our lovely new modern practice at 7 Delaware Road Haywards Heath.
Wendy Langley, Bryan’s daughter, worked in the practice throughout the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s and from 2000, until 2020, when she retired and she deserves a special mention, ensuring the smooth running of the practice, as practice manager, during this time.
Paul Johnson and Damian Wood helped to grow and strengthen the practice in the 1990’s and 2000’s, with Damian retiring after many years of service as a great Physio, in 2019, just before the pandemic. Paul is still associated with the practice, with a teaching role for some of the younger physios, following on to strengthen the practice and he also sees some of his patients, working part time now. Paul gave many years of very valuable service to ‘The Physio First’ organisation and he was the journal editor of ‘In Touch’ for many years. We are proud to have Tobias Bremer with us, who carries on this valuable tradition.
We are also very proud to have had Richard Furber and Lindy Griffiths join us two years ago, in a directorship role. Richard is the practice manager and Lindy runs a very successful business in Chichester and her experience is invaluable to us.
Leonard’s granddaughter and Bryan’s daughter Julia also trained as a physiotherapist and worked for many years in Devon and their great grandsons, Stephen Canning and Dylan Howell are also physios, in Sheffield and Oxford, respectively. Jamie Forsey, Julia’s son, is also a very successful sports massage therapist in Devon.
Bryan Howell’s other daughter, Eudora, worked as a midwife, a school nurse, a district nurse and a continence nurse respectively, in mid-Sussex for many years, before retiring a few years ago.
Mixing our history with today, we are hugely indebted to our staff, who have been with us for over a decade.
They are a dedicated, hardworking, loyal and above all supportive and friendly team.
They are composed of Jeanette Uwins, practice administrator, Jayne Phillips, Physio and Pilates teacher, Jo Dale, women’s health Physio, Fiona Gordon & Becky Waldron, Podiatrists and Nina De Perou, Reiki Therapist and Julie Gravett, receptionist.
More recently we have been joined by Karl Bevan, Roberto Di Gregorio (Physios) and Karen Sargent, Sports Massage Therapist.
Thanks for reading to our history and I hope that you enjoyed it and know that you are in ‘safe hands’.
“Leonard Howell, the founder of The Physio Therapy Centre is 3rd from the right”