Susan Thorne – a tribute

We were very saddened to hear about the death of former BAcC Chair, Susan Thorne.

Susan became a member of BAcC when the Council was first formed in 1995 and was such an influential force during her time at the BAcC – always able to talk passionately, coherently and persuasively about traditional acupuncture.

Susan Thorne

As founder and co-ordinator of the Guildford and Surrey regional group in 1999, Susan played an important role in building the regional group network across the whole country. She believed that fellow members should work as colleagues and not competitors. Quite a number of clinical observation students would visit her home clinic – an annexe to the smallholding that she ran with her husband, Malcolm. Working with the animals in the fields and vegetable garden kept her in touch with the seasons and underpinned her five element work.

In 2009, she became Chair of BAcC and applied her characteristic energy and presence of mind to all aspects of the role, especially throughout the shift in governance from Executive Committee to Governing Board. She helped modernise governance structures and develop a more professional BAcC – producing a new annual strategy and facilitating work on attaining PSA accreditation.

Always keen to explore how the BAcC could make its voice heard, Susan was a big advocate of PR and always quick off the mark to contact any new secretary of state or minister for health and wellbeing, to ‘welcome’ them to their new role. She was also influential in driving the BAcC’s research agenda – keen to emphasise how individual members could make an impact through collecting data in their practices.

Susan Evans, one of the present board members said on hearing of her passing: ‘Susan Thorne was a great encouragement to me when she was Chair’.

Representing the profession in a wider context, Susan delivered lectures abroad and continued to forge invaluable external links, including one leading to our first BAcC patron, Ann Milton.

In 2015, Susan was awarded a fellowship – a shining example of how ordinary members can do something extraordinary for the BAcC.

She will be greatly missed by all – from her local colleagues and patients that she knew and helped, to the wider acupuncture community for whom she campaigned through the BAcC to build a stronger and more unified voice for traditional acupuncture.

Jennifer Norton, CEO
October 2023