Today, 8th June it is 27 years to the day since we launched the practice - with an Open Day. Perry and I spent (at least what felt like) a huge amount to advertise on the front page of the Stamford Mercury and put a sign up on the wall by the front door - printed on a sheet of A4 paper and put into a clipframe from Wilkos! No expense spared (you cannot believe how broke we were.....) But we did have a brass plate (all proper clinics have a brass plate!)- a present from Anthea's father and every certificate we had was framed and up on the wall!
Just 9 people turned up and were honoured with a plastic cup of orange juice and an egg sandwich. Most of them knew the building having worked in it at one time or another over the years - we discovered some of it's previous incarnations - a picture framers, an accountants, an electrical wholesalers and an out-size ladies clothes shop. They weren't interested in coming to see us as patients - just wanted to nose about and see what we'd done to the place.
We lived upstairs in a two bedroom flat and Perrys children from his first marriage (then about 10 and 5) used to come and stay every other weekend. Downstairs we had the clinic with basement and ground floor treatment rooms, and reception (which had a sofabed and curtains at the window and served as a spare bedroom when we had guests!). Percy our little black cat used to come into reception and sit on people's laps....and we still managed to be late for work, coming downstairs brushing toast crumbs off our clinic coats!
An inauspicious start - and thank goodness we didn't know what was ahead of us - we'd have thrown in the towel at the outset. We both worked part time in other osteopathic practices: Perry in Spalding, Anthea in Weldon, near Corby, while we struggled to get the BSP established. We were our own reception, bookeeping, cleaning, maintenance as well as jobbing osteopaths.
It's easy to forget how humble the beginning was - we were so naive and completely broke! There's still plenty of scope for improvement today, but we've come a long, long way.
This week we will see patients with registration numbers ranging from 20997 to 21040. The 21k watershed is passed!
We got it started and pushed on through the lower gears, but these days it's our team of brilliant receptionists and small army of superb practitioners who we have to thank for the success of the practice today.
And there are a few patients who have helped us (and we like to think we've helped them) along the way! if you are one of them.....THANK YOU!