Tuesday 18th June 2019
In the footsteps of Sue Ryder
In May 2019 I travelled to England at the invitation of Lady Ryder of Warsaw Memorial Trust. The programme they organised for me was very full and I saw a lot of places related to Sue Ryder.
First of all, I visited the town of Cavendish, where for many years the headquarters of the Sue Ryder Foundation was located and where the first Sue Ryder Home in England was opened. At the local cemetery, Lady Ryder and her husband Lord Cheshire are buried, among the graves of many Poles who came to Cavendish just after the war.
In February of this year, a memorial room dedicated to Sue Ryder opened in Devonshire House, the privately owned care home that is in the same house as the old Sue Ryder home. On the occasion of my arrival, a group of people associated with Sue Ryder - her close associates, Trustees of The Lady Ryder of Warsaw Memorial Trust, representatives of The Sue Ryder foundation were there to greet me. During the meeting, a mobile exhibition "Sue Ryder - Life for people." was presented.
Another important place associated with Lady Ryder is St. Katharine's Parmoor - where is the ecumenical retreat house, run by Sue Ryder Prayer Fellowship. I spent a few days there, during which I had the opportunity to understand the nature of this place, also taking part in the cyclical meeting of members of this organization, participating in common prayer and calm. The meeting was a great opportunity to tell British friends about the museum's activities in Poland.
I also visited the Sue Ryder Houses in Leckhampton and Nettlebed, which now serve as hospices. These houses are located in beautiful estates, where pensioners find care at a high level. In addition to regular patients, Sue Ryder Homes also offer a daily stay option. Maintaining these houses is helped by the Sue Ryder charity shops, and there are currently around 450 in the whole of Great Britain – I had the opportunity to visit a few of them.
The trip also included Polish accents: the Polish Air Force Monument (built to commemorate the contribution of Polish pilots during World War II) and the Polish Heart Club in London.
I was in the UK for over a week – it was extremely interesting and full of marvellous impressions. I’m very thankful to LRWMT for organising this wonderful trip for me and giving me the opportunity to feel the spirit of Sue Ryder in the places where she lived and worked. It was a great time also because I met many British friends who helped understand better what Sue Ryder was all about which I know will pay off in my work - running the Sue Ryder Museum in Warsaw.
A word from Robert Frith
The trustees of the Lady Ryder of Warsaw Memorial Trust invited Anna Kalata, the Director of the museum dedicated to Lady Ryder in Warsaw, to the UK. Her trip was designed to allow her to see the various care homes, charity shops and locations where the memory of Sue Ryder continues today. This visit undoubtedly will embellish her work in Poland.
The trip started with an event at The Polish Social and Cultural Centre London on Polish heritage day on at their centre in Hammersmith which was attended by the Polish Ambassador. From there she was taken to see care homes in Leckhampton and Nettlebed, also to see the head office of Sue Ryder Care in Sudbury and in many instances was able to visit some Sue Ryder charity shops.
There was a gathering in Cavendish for many associated with the first Sue Ryder care home. Anna visited the church in the village, saw Lady Ryder and Lord Cheshire's graves where they are buried next to thirty Polish people who had been transferred to this country after WW2.
A few friends, people who had worked at The Sue Ryder Home in Cavendish and some of the LRWMT trustees gathered at the Devonshire House care home which is now in the original Sue Ryder home for tea, cakes and reminiscent conversations about days-gone-by. They were shown a documentary TV film made by Polish television. It was a chance for many to catch up with old acquaintances, to meet Anna and to give them a chance to talk to her about Lady Ryder.
After a weekend in London sightseeing, she attended a Prayer Fellowship meeting in St Katherine's Parmoor near Henley-on-Thames before returning home. The trustees had had Anna to stay in their homes and funded the trip themselves.
Chairman of LRWMT
The Lady Ryder of Warsaw Memorial Trust is a company limited by guarantee and is registered in England No.3935283 | Registered Charity No: 1082295