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Latest news

Champneys announces death of owner Dorothy Purdew

Champneys owner Dorothy Purdew has died at 91
The business is now worth an estimated £300 million (US$376.5 million, €350.5 million)
Champneys operates six spa resorts, two spa hotels, three high-street city spas and two training colleges in the UK
Champneys says her spirit will forever guide it as it strives "to uphold her vision and commitment to excellence"

Dorothy Purdew OBE, industry veteran and co-owner and chair of UK-based health spa chain Champneys, has died at age 91.

Worth more than £300 million (US$376.5 million, €350.5 million), the group is one of the largest and most recognisable spa brands in the world and is referred to as the UK’s original health spa.

Its properties became particularly popular in the 90s after they attracted a famous clientele including politicians, celebrities and royalty.

Born in 1932 in Clapham, London, Purdew launched her first business WeightGuard in 1970 with just £60 (US$75, €70).

She successfully expanded the slimming club company across the South-East of England and eight years later, fulfilled her dream of branching into wellness by purchasing her first health farm, Frimleys.

In 1981, Purdew acquired countryside wellness retreat Henlow Grange with her son Stephen and late husband Bob. By 1990, the family had acquired a further three properties – Springs Hydro, Forest Mere and finally Champneys Tring (the original Champneys spa) – all of which contributed to the formation of the Champneys group.

The Purdews then chose to extend the Champneys spa brand to the rest of its portfolio.

The business steadily grew in prominence and in recent times, has been expanded to include Eastwell Manor and, more recently, Mottram Hall.

In 2008, Purdew was recognised with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the health spa industry and charity in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Leaving a legacy

In a statement announcing the news, Champneys said Purdew’s “commitment to its success was boundless” and that the business was “her life’s work”.

“Dorothy’s journey was a testament to her unwavering dedication and ambition. She shattered expectations, proving that even a girl from a working-class background could become one of the world’s most influential spa operators.

“Remarkably, even in her nineties, she would diligently read guest feedback every morning, eager to discover ways to enhance the business.”

It continued: “Dorothy leaves behind a legacy that will be forever cherished. Her spirit will forever guide us as we strive to uphold her vision and commitment to excellence.

“In her memory, we will continue to honour the remarkable journey of a woman who defied expectations, inspired generations and left an indelible mark on the world of wellness and hospitality.”

More about ChampneysChampneys operates six spa resorts, two spa hotels, three high-street city spas and two training colleges in the UK.

It also manufactures a collection of signature spa-inspired beauty and wellbeing products available for purchase in high-street stores across the UK.

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Latest news

Champneys announces death of owner Dorothy Purdew

Champneys owner Dorothy Purdew has died at 91
The business is now worth an estimated £300 million (US$376.5 million, €350.5 million)
Champneys operates six spa resorts, two spa hotels, three high-street city spas and two training colleges in the UK
Champneys says her spirit will forever guide it as it strives "to uphold her vision and commitment to excellence"

Dorothy Purdew OBE, industry veteran and co-owner and chair of UK-based health spa chain Champneys, has died at age 91.

Worth more than £300 million (US$376.5 million, €350.5 million), the group is one of the largest and most recognisable spa brands in the world and is referred to as the UK’s original health spa.

Its properties became particularly popular in the 90s after they attracted a famous clientele including politicians, celebrities and royalty.

Born in 1932 in Clapham, London, Purdew launched her first business WeightGuard in 1970 with just £60 (US$75, €70).

She successfully expanded the slimming club company across the South-East of England and eight years later, fulfilled her dream of branching into wellness by purchasing her first health farm, Frimleys.

In 1981, Purdew acquired countryside wellness retreat Henlow Grange with her son Stephen and late husband Bob. By 1990, the family had acquired a further three properties – Springs Hydro, Forest Mere and finally Champneys Tring (the original Champneys spa) – all of which contributed to the formation of the Champneys group.

The Purdews then chose to extend the Champneys spa brand to the rest of its portfolio.

The business steadily grew in prominence and in recent times, has been expanded to include Eastwell Manor and, more recently, Mottram Hall.

In 2008, Purdew was recognised with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the health spa industry and charity in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Leaving a legacy

In a statement announcing the news, Champneys said Purdew’s “commitment to its success was boundless” and that the business was “her life’s work”.

“Dorothy’s journey was a testament to her unwavering dedication and ambition. She shattered expectations, proving that even a girl from a working-class background could become one of the world’s most influential spa operators.

“Remarkably, even in her nineties, she would diligently read guest feedback every morning, eager to discover ways to enhance the business.”

It continued: “Dorothy leaves behind a legacy that will be forever cherished. Her spirit will forever guide us as we strive to uphold her vision and commitment to excellence.

“In her memory, we will continue to honour the remarkable journey of a woman who defied expectations, inspired generations and left an indelible mark on the world of wellness and hospitality.”

More about ChampneysChampneys operates six spa resorts, two spa hotels, three high-street city spas and two training colleges in the UK.

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