Tributes have been paid to an “adored” award-winning physiotherapist who found her calling helping others. 

From an early age Carol Payne immediately took to physiotherapy with a strong ambition and steely determination. 

She first joined University College London Hospital before moving to Norwich, where she spent the next 44 years dedicated to clinical practice and advanced research. 

As a leader at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (N&N), she practised person-centred mentoring and strived for excellence while supporting aspirations.  

She understood the psychology of physiotherapy, and this underpinned her holistic approach.   

Her care involved the wider aspects of patients’ lives, whose fulsome testimonials demonstrate her personalised approach to their care. 

Norwich Evening News: Carol Payne

She was instrumental in making the N&N physiotherapy department “research ready.” 

She also supported allied health professionals (AHP) pursuing research locally, regionally, and nationally. She was a research champion and, in 2023, presented a survey of UK AHP research capacity at “Physiotherapy UK”. 

She was also a committee member of the British Elbow and Shoulder Society (BESS) and provided academic reviews, while lecturing at the University of East Anglia’s school of health sciences. Her research took her to Japan and the US. 

She won many accolades including the BESS award in 2014, the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists award in 2016, and a Trust Lifetime Achievement award in 2022 which recognised her career since 1980.   

In 2024, she won a pioneering NHS England accreditation as an advanced practitioner, following an extensive peer review, and was a fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.  

However, her real pleasure came from the positive comments of her patients and she was proud to use her injection skills in the N&N vaccination team during Covid-19

A spokesperson from the N&N said: “Carol found talents far beyond treating patients, fiercely advocating for advances in physiotherapy. 

“Carol was a generous, carefully-tailored gift giver to therapy charities and UNICEF. 

“She leaves an enduring research legacy for future patients; and nearly half a century of former patients who benefited from her clinical excellence, dedication, ambition, and high standards.   

“Carol was a modest and private person, yet interested in people as a kind, thoughtful, and caring colleague.  Her chats, laughs, and particular turn of phrase are deeply missed.” 

Born in 1955 in Cranford, Northamptonshire, she loved walking the dog, riding the village horse on the green, and doing handstands.  

She proved her aptitude for sport and science at Kettering High School and that led her to the West Middlesex Hospital. 

She loved museums and art and was a Pre-Raphaelites expert, her embroidery skills filled her Norwich city flat, and she will be fondly remembered for cryptic crosswords, Radley handbags, pink lipstick and Jo Malone fandom, purple purses, and Thursday hairdresser dates.   

Her father infused her with a lifelong passion for cricket, and Test Match Special was avidly followed – especially when England were beating the Aussies. 

Ms Payne died unexpectedly of heart failure on January 24 at the N&N, where she had dedicated her life’s work. She was working two days before and had left a conference early the day before. 

  • To pay tribute to a loved one, email     
  • To read all obituaries and tributes join the Facebook group Norfolk's Loved & Lost