The Lady Ryder of Warsaw Memorial Trust

Lady Ryder CMG OBE

Sue Ryder PictureSue Ryder was born in 1923 into a large land-owning family in Yorkshire. The course of her life was to be determined by two early influences; by the example of her much-loved mother's voluntary social work; and by what she herself witnessed of the widespread social misery caused by the Great Depression.


When war broke out, she left school and volunteered to serve in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (the FANYS). She then served with the highly secret Special Operations Executive, created by Winston Churchill to co-ordinate Resistance activities in German-occupied Europe and she was eventually attached to the Polish section of SOE.


What she witnessed from that time to the end of the war, especially the selfless, cheerful courage of young men and women embarking on the most hazardous operations, left her not only with a passionate, enduring love of the Polish people, but also with a determination to relieve the suffering of a devastated continent.


After working for the SOE during Word War II, she devoted herself to charity.Sue Ryder Picture In the midst of Sue Ryder's many practical efforts to relieve the suffering of post war Europe, she began herself to bring back to England survivors from the Concentration Camps who were sick and needed long term nursing.


They came to her Mother's House in Cavendish Suffolk which became the first Sue Ryder Home. In 1953 she formed the Sue Ryder Foundation to more effectively provide homes and domiciliary care teams for the sick and disabled in any part of the world where assistance was required and where the opportunity presented itself.


Since that time, the work has grown steadily in size and in its capacity to help people in need. Sue Ryder always intended that the work should be "a living memorial to the victims of tyranny and to those who suffer and die as a result of persecution".


Today it is certainly that; but it is also, in its own unique way, a splendid testimony to the compassion, the indomitable resolve and - most of all - to the deep Christian faith of its Founder. In 1959 Sue Ryder married Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, one of Britain's best-known war heroes. He died in 1992.


Baroness Ryder, created a Life Peer in 1978, gave all her time to the foundation she established. She continued to live in a small flat within the headquarters of the Sue Ryder Foundation in Suffolk and shared the life of the community there. She ceased to be a trustee of the Sue Ryder Foundation in 1998 and then formed a new charity, The Bouverie Foundation. After Lady Ryder's death, the name was ultimately changed to The Lady Ryder of Warsaw Memorial Trust.