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The Sue Ryder Timeline

You may or may not already know that all of the profits made from the sales of the products on this site go straight to Sue Ryder. The charity provides incredible care to people who have been given a life changing diagnosis. We’ve put together a brief timeline of our founder, Sue Ryder’s, early life to give you an insight into how the charity came about and what's done with the money raised.

3 July 1924

Sue Ryder was born during the summer of 1924 to parents Mabel and Charles. One of nine siblings, Sue grew up on her parents’ farm in Leeds, spending summers on their second farm in Suffolk. It was here she established her strong work ethic.


At the age of six, Sue began to visit slums close to her home with her mother. Together they would help relieve the unpleasant living conditions there. Children who lived in the slums would come to play in the open spaces of the Ryder family’s farm and Sue would prepare food, bags of sweets and presents for their arrival.


When the Second World War broke out, Sue felt she needed to do something to help but at 15 she was too young to volunteer herself. She began volunteering at a local hospital before joining the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. Sue trained in the UK and was then sent abroad to Poland, the then Czech Republic and North Africa.


Sue decided her vision was to “build a living memorial to the dead, and our work is a summons to seek out the reality of human suffering, and do something about” at just 19 years old.


 During the 50s Sue made it her mission to provide support and care to the hundreds of people who had been imprisoned by the Allied forces. Despite being advised otherwise, Sue visited the prisoners alone, taking supplies along with her and forever fighting their cause to anyone who would listen.


Sue Ryder’s first home, named St Christopher’s was established in Celle, close to Hanover. Here she cared for rehabilitated prisoners and anyone else who needed her care, including TB patients who had been stranded in camps. Many overseas homes followed, including one specifically for girls with rheumatoid arthritis and 22 for the elderly, survivors of concentration camps and people with an incurable disease or a neurological condition.


Almost thirty years old, Sue created the Sue Ryder Foundation or simply Sue Ryder, as we know it today, and hospices were opened in the UK. Sue Ryder now provides incredible care for over 16,000 people per year in hospices, care centres and within communities.

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