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Thursday, 2 November, 2000, 21:23 GMT
Charity founder Baroness Ryder dies
Baroness Ryder and Group Captain Cheshire picking poppies
Baroness Ryder with her husband Group Captain Leonard Cheshire in 1989
The charity worker Baroness Ryder of Warsaw has died, aged 77.

Lady Ryder was the founder of the charity Sue Ryder Care, which operates homes for the sick and disabled.

The widow of World War II hero Group Captain Leonard Cheshire had been ill for some time and was admitted to hospital in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, in January.

Lady Ryder opened her first home in 1952, and the following year set up the Sue Ryder Foundation, which is now called Sue Ryder Care.

The charity operates more than 80 homes worldwide for the sick and disabled. It has about 580 high street shops and more than 24,000 volunteers.

Bouverie Foundation

Earlier this year she set up the Bouverie Foundation (Lady Ryder of Warsaw Appeals Fund) after accusing the trustees of the Sue Ryder Foundation of hijacking the charity.

She claimed she had been locked out of the charity's offices, and accused the trustees of betraying its volunteer helpers and splashing out on new offices in central London.

She set up the Bouverie Foundation with the aim of supporting the work of the bodies she had established, particularly those overseas.

Lady Ryder, the youngest of five children, was born in Leeds to parents who were both landed gentry.

In 1939, at the age of 16, Lady Ryder volunteered for the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, but was soon working with the Special Operations Executive set up by Churchill to co-ordinate Resistance activities.

She mainly worked as a driver and radio operator with the Polish section.

After the war she volunteered to do relief work in France and Poland.

'Great loss'

In a statement on Thursday, the Bouverie Foundation said: "The trustees have learned with great sadness of the death of their founder, Lady Ryder.

"They realise that the passing of this exceptional human being will also be mourned by the innumerable supporters, sympathisers and fellow workers who shared Lady Ryder's vision of a more compassionate and humane world and were inspired by her lifelong commitment to the relief of suffering.

"The trustees express their sympathy to Lady Ryder's family for their great loss, and to all those admirers of Lady Ryder's life and work for whom the world will be a sadder and emptier place."

The statement said the Bouverie Foundation would continue to function in line with the "principles she respected".

Lady Ryder lost her husband, founder of the Leonard Cheshire charity which runs homes for the disabled, in 1992 after more than 40 years of marriage.

She is survived by a son, Jeremy Cheshire, and a daughter, Dr Elizabeth Cheshire.

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