Sue Ryder served in the Polish section of SOE where she met and worked alongside men and women of extraordinary courage and determination. She learned at first hand the extent of human suffering being inflicted on occupied Europe by the Nazis. This began her long association and love for Poland and the Polish nation. She subsequently wrote, “I feel I belong to Poland” and in 1978 because of her deep commitment to that country she took the title “Lady Ryder of Warsaw” when she was made a life Peer in the House of Lords.
Sue Ryder chose the title of “Lady Ryder of Warsaw”, as a tribute to the scores of Poles she met during the war. Her most valued Polish award, however, was a gold medal presented to her by Cardinal Jozef Glemp in December 1996 for recognition of her work and service to the church in Poland.
She went on to start 28 Homes in the country.
Sue Ryder was keen that her work should continue in Poland and that the Trust should be supportive of this. Since its beginning, the Trust has funded a number of initiatives in Poland including:
- a mobile mammography unit in the Radom province (in collaboration with Caritas), which travelled in a rural area of the country where cases of breast cancer were high, providing on the spot mammography tests, providing early diagnosis and treatment.
- the building of a new Home for the elderly at Pierzchnica in Swietokrzyskie Province, and subsequent extensions to this Home
- Medicines for residents at the Home at Konstancin
- Equipment and supplies to many of the Homes. During the Covid pandemic, help was quickly given to help pay for PPE
We were delighted when a new school, initially at Wola Batorska, took the name of Sue Ryder as their patron. The school has now moved to Nielpolomice but the name continues. The pupils learn about what Sue Ryder did in Poland and periodically some of the pupils visit St Katharine’s Parmoor and we hope that they will be ambassadors for Sue Ryder for the next generations.
For more information, https://fundacjasueryder.pl