Sue Ryder dies at 77 after a life devoted to charity

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The Independent Online

Sue Ryder, one of the most respected charity workers in post-war Britain, died aged 77 yesterday.

Sue Ryder, one of the most respected charity workers in post-war Britain, died aged 77 yesterday.

Baroness Ryder, widow of Second World War hero Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, had been in the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, since September.

The Sue Ryder Foundation was established 47 years ago to help the homeless in the aftermath of the Second World War but it subsequently widened its appeal to include the sick and needy in Britain and had a string of health care homes and 500 charity shops.

But in recent months she had become estranged from the organisation, which changed its name to Sue Ryder Care and dropped her traditional logo, a sprig of rosemary for remembrance,in favour of an image of a smiling sun. Lady Ryder was angered and before she went into hospital set up a new organisation to keep faith with her original principles of compassion and the relief of suffering.

She was a devout Catholic and married Leonard Cheshire VC in 1959. The couple had an audience with the Pope to mark their 25th wedding anniversary.

Lady Ryder was a tireless worker for the disadvantaged, especially in Poland, and took the title Lady Ryder of Warsaw to affirm her commitment to the Polish people. She was a hands-on charity director, often driving lorries of food and clothing to Warsaw to help the needy especially when the country was under Communist rule.

Spokeswoman for the Bouverie Foundation, Halina Kent, said last night: "It is an incredible loss - the news has come as a terrible blow to many hundred of thousands of people who knew, loved and admired Lady Ryder."

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