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  • LadySUE RYDER

    of WarsawSingle-minded philanthropist

    TESSA WEST

    SHEPHEARD-WALWYN (PUBLISHERS) LTD

  • Tessa West 2018

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may bereproduced in any form without the written permission

    of the publisher, Shepheard-Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd

    First published in 2018 byShepheard-Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd

    107 Parkway House, Sheen Lane,London SW14 8LS

    www.shepheard-walwyn.co.uk

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataA catalogue record of this book

    is available from the British Library

    ISBN: 978 0 85683 520-9

    Typeset by Alacrity, Chesterfield, Sandford, SomersetPrinted and bound in the United Kingdom

    by 4edge Limited

  • To those who are suffering,

    and to those who work to

    relieve that suffering

  • CONTENTS

    List of Illustrations ix Foreword xi Przedmowa xv Acknowledgements xix Introduction 1 1 Childhood 52 FANY and SOE 183 Audley End and Cichociemni 274 Voyage to North Africa On to Italy The End of the War 395 But Some There Be 486 Life in the Camps A Visit to Suffolk 547 Relief Work 608 Boys and Driving 779 Start of the Foundation Shops 86

    10 St Christopher 9511 Early Days at Cavendish 10012 Early Days at Konstancin Management Style 11113 Leonard Cheshire 11814 Publicity and Recognition 12715 Joining Forces India 13316 Holidays The Work Goes On 14417 Raphael Thrives Sue Ryders Personality A Consuls Impressions 15118 Marriage Back to Cavendish Hickleton and Homes 16119 Children More Homes Remembrance Concerts 17720 Tales from Two Volunteers More Publicity 187

    vii

  • 21 Sad Events 19322 Autobiographies Homes Plaudits 20223 Lochnagar Museum House of Lords 21524 Family Week in Rome Friendship with Poland 22325 Cheshires lllness and Death Carrying On 22926 Division Sue Ryders Death 23527 Obituaries and Memorials Continuations The Will and End Word 243

    Time Line 253 Bibliography 254 Films 256 Index 257

    Contents

    viii

  • LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

    Between pages 126 and 127

    1Sue Ryder on her bike.2Mabel Ryder, Sues mother.3The young Sue Ryder.4Sue Ryder wearing the Syrenka Warsawska.5Another portrait.6Joshua in the snow.7Scarcroft Grange, Yorkshire.8Great Thurlow Hall.9Polish postage stamp commemorating The Black Madonna.

    10Audley End, or STS 43.11Cover of the FANY Gazette, 1957.12 Monarch of Bermuda.13-14FANYs at work.15Sketch of Trulli houses (courtesy Samson Lloyd)16More FANYs at work.17Alfons Mackowiak.18Extract from The Vital Role of Audley End in WW2.19The elegant centre of attention.20Portrait.21Sue Ryder in thought.22Programme for Pageant, 1939.23Benenden Clothing List, 1940.24Loading a truck, late 1940s.25Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire.26The Cheshires with their children, Jeromy and Elizabeth.27St Christophers Settlement, c.1955.28Laying foundations, 1958.29Working on Alice.30Sue Ryder clearing the decks.

    ix

  • 31Site meeting at Ely.32Bishops Palace, Ely.33At the Old Palace, Ely.34Three cake makers and their cakes.35Enjoying a chat with a patient.36Helping serve Christmas dinner at Cavendish.37Sue Ryders truck in snow, Poland, late 70s.38Polish staff ready to greet Sue Ryder, 1988.39With the architect at Acorn Bank, Cumbria.40Craftwork at Konstancin.41Sue Ryder at Cavendish.42With a patient.43Welcomed to Rome by Pope John Paul II.44With the Pope in Rome.45A Royal occasion.46A smiling Sue Ryder.47With HRH Queen Elizabeth.48Delivering Leonard Cheshires medals.49The Queen Mother at Cavendish, 1979.50Sketch map of Raphael.51-54Sue Ryder at Raphael 1959-1997.55With volunteers and Child of My Love, 1986.56Signing a copy of Child of My Love.57Honorary Doctorate, University of Essex, 1993.58The Cheshires at the Sue Ryder Museum.59Visiting Minster Abbey, 1995.60In India, 1990s.61Husband and wife.62Attending a service.63Lochnagar crater.64Sue Ryder extends her reach into Ethiopia, 1991.65Ethiopia, 1991.66-67Sue Ryder in Ethiopia.68The last visit to Raphael.69Joshua in retirement.70The Cheshires at Raphael.71Leaving Raphael for the last time.

    List of Illustrations

    x

  • FOREWORD

    Magorzata Skrzewska-Amberg

    Chair of the Sue Ryder Foundation in Poland

    WHEN I WAS ASKED to write a foreword for the biography youreholding in your hands now, I hesitated. I thought that maybe itwas not the best idea. After all, there are many people who knewLady Ryder better and for a longer time Then, I had a thought.Youll get to know Sue Ryder from this book, and I the child ofthe Untamed City, who was born and raised in Warsaw will try,dear friends, to explain why its my city where theres the worldsonly museum that commemorates that extraordinary woman.

    I met Sue Ryder near the end of her life, in the second half ofthe 1990s. I can still see that petite and very slim woman. She wasshy and she always tried to stand on the sidelines, never to be thecentre of attention. She gave the impression that being the centreof other peoples attention was embarrassing for her. As a keen observer, she had a gift of noticing people who needed help evenif that need wasnt voiced. When she interacted with those in need,she became a different person, she exuded inner warmth and wonthem with genuine concern for them. She even tried to look for adhoc ways of helping them immediately.

    Despite all her shyness or, Id even say, a kind of reserve, shewas gifted with unusually strong will which manifested itself immediately when it was time to act for the good of others. Determined, even stubborn when she pursued her goal, she wascompletely helpless when it came to herself. She couldnt quitefight for her own business. As a person who was loyal to others, she couldnt understand it when someone was disloyal to her.

    xi

  • She came back to the times of the war several times during ourconversations. She reminisced about the Silent Unseen,* thosebrave Poles who faced death unflinchingly, for despite the passageof time she was still fascinated by their attitude. She emphasisedthat she had met young people who laughed and were cheerfuland ready to sacrifice their lives for our freedom and yours. Sheunderstood that, but she always said while thinking back on thosetimes that she and not only she had been amazed by the factthat those people viewed the even murderous training which theyhad to undergo, only as a way to winning a private fight of eachof them. It was a private fight against all those who wanted tosnatch their freedom, which they had regained painfully and notsuch a long time before, as well as their right to dignity and to life.Each of them took pride in being a Pole, each was full of desire forrevenge for the wrongs and harm suffered by the ones left at home.She was fascinated by their ardent faith which helped them to geton a plane with a smile on their faces. Then, they were to jump offthe plane into the unknown, somewhere in Polish forests. Whenshe escorted someone to the plane, she was sure she saw them forthe last time. Against all odds, she managed to meet a few of themafter the war.

    When she stood on Warsaws rubble in the place where, as she said, there was no city, no houses, no streets, where there wasnothing as far as the eye could see except the field of rubble sheunderstood a lot. Looking at the city sentenced to death, wipedfrom existence, the city which decided to live against everything,the city whose stronger and stronger human tissue grew on therubble, she understood that the Silent Unseen couldnt have beenother than they had been. They had grown up from the same tradition, history, culture and roots which allowed the Pol