Horton General Hospital celebrates 150th Anniversary

Horton General Hospital

The Horton General Hospital, part of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), will celebrate its 150th birthday on Sunday 17 July. In a first, Radio Horton is teaming up with BBC Radio Oxford to present a simulcast featuring highlights from the special occasion.

The Banbury hospital had only two wards when it opened as Horton Infirmary in 1872 – men’s and women’s – and a total of 12 beds.

Much has changed since then at the hospital, which was built with money left by Mary Ann Horton, a local heiress, who bought an eight acre site for £3,000 and added £7,000 to build the hospital.

With the support of volunteers from Radio Horton, colleagues were able to reflect on the hospital’s history and achievements, as well as the success of staff past and present, at an informal lunch event on Friday 15 July.

‘Special place’

Annie Paynton is a Sterile Services Manager who has worked at the Horton for 40 years.

She said: “June marked my 40th year working at the Horton and, having worked at the hospital for so long, it is wonderful to celebrate its 150th birthday.

“My mother trained as a nurse here so the Horton means so much to me and my family.

“A lot has changed over the years, but the Horton remains such a special place to work and for the patients we care for.

“I am so proud of my colleagues across the hospital – new and old – for what they do for the north Oxfordshire community every single day, especially my Sterile Services colleagues who ensure theatre operations can go ahead safely within the Trust.”

Annie’s dedication to the Horton is something the runs in her family as her mother, Nancy Claridge, trained as a Staff Nurse at the hospital from 1955, passing in 1958. After going on maternity leave in 1960, she returned in 1969 as a Phlebotomist until her retirement in 2000, committing more than four decades to the hospital like her daughter would.

Patient Jennifer Upton, 80, said: “This is my hospital. It’s local and it’s beautiful. I do not drive – I’m 80 years old and I need assistance to get anywhere. But this is my lovely little Banbury Horton General Hospital – and I still love it.

“As a patient here, you are somebody and you are looked after and followed up. Staff have looked after my eyes, my tonsilitis, you name it. It’s lovely here and it’s like a family.”

She added: “I think the Horton’s 150th birthday is absolutely brilliant. I wish I was young enough to go out and party with them!”

Michelle Brock, Matron for the Emergency Department at the Horton, said: “This is a hospital with the community at its heart, and it feels like one big family. We’ve laughed and cried and expressed every emotion you can imagine together and that’s what makes us unique. When things get tough, all the wards and departments pull together to support our patients and in turn we support each other.

“I’d like to wish this beloved hospital a very happy birthday – what a fantastic milestone.”

Thanking and supporting staff

Celebrations of the Horton’s sesquicentennial anniversary were kick started in June when the Horton General Hospital Charity hosted its annual Horton Fundraising Week. This saw charity staff raise awareness among patients and NHS colleagues about the work they do to make a difference across the hospital.

As part of this, the charity helped organise free breakfast and lunch to thank all staff for all their hard work.

Douglas Graham, Chief Executive Officer at the Horton General Hospital Charity, said: “We’re incredibly proud to support this beloved hospital during what is a milestone birthday.

“Horton General Hospital Charity is here to support the staff and patients from funding the very best medical equipment, enhancing staff welfare and improving care for our patients. We’d like to wish the Horton General Hospital a very happy birthday and thank you to all the staff past and present for everything that you do.”

Professor Meghana Pandit, Interim Chief Executive Officer at OUH, said: “A very happy birthday to the Horton General Hospital. This is a fantastic milestone for the hospital, staff, and the community, and it has been a privilege to join with colleagues to mark the occasion and reflect on the excellent work of staff over the years.

“The Horton delivers compassionate excellence to patients in Banbury and the surrounding area and is a fundamental part of our OneTeamOneOUH.

“A heartfelt thank you to all Horton staff past and present who have helped make the hospital such a special place for our local patients. Staff who work here are the heart of their local community.”

An acute general hospital, the Horton provides a wide range of services, including an Emergency Department, Maternity services (midwifery-led unit), Critical Care, Paediatrics, and cancer treatment (Brodey Centre). Around 1,000 members of staff work at the north Oxfordshire hospital.

The Horton has come a long way since 1872 and, in 2021/22, the hospital had approximately:

  • 101,000 patients attending outpatient appointments (includes first and follow-up attendances),
  • And 48,000 patients attending its Emergency Department.

Simulcast programme

Banbury’s hospital, health and wellbeing broadcasting service, Radio Horton, which, itself has played a significant role in the hospital’s history since its launch in 1964 is teaming up with BBC Radio Oxford on Monday 18th July from 18:00 – 20:00 to celebrate the anniversary with Oxfordshire.

Radio Horton Chair, Sam Smette said “We’re very excited about being a part of the hospital’s 150th anniversary, it’s an occasion that will itself make the history books.”

“The Horton General Hospital means so much to so many people locally, and consistently, I’ve heard from present and former staff the sense of community spirit has been prevalent over the last one-hundred and fifty years, it is truly remarkable.”

“We are delighted that the people of Oxfordshire can join us in these special celebrations as we join forces with Fleur Ostojak on Monday, featuring stories from the staff and volunteers of our much loved hospital”.

A potted history of the Horton General Hospital can be found on the OUH website.

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