Our history

Who was Lady Sue Ryder?

Lady Sue Ryder was born in 1924 to a wealthy family in Yorkshire. She was a humanitarian who was inspired to help people by the work of her mother, her experiences on the frontline in Nazi-occupied Europe and her faith. She left the charity in 1998 and died in 2000.

How did the charity Sue Ryder start?

The first Sue Ryder home in the UK opened in Lady Ryder’s mother’s house in Cavendish, Suffolk, in 1952. Its first patients were survivors of the concentration camps. 

The scope of Lady Ryder’s work later widened to include supporting people with palliative and neurological conditions.

In 1974, a home for cancer patients was opened. Our centre in Leckhampton also began as a place for people with cancer to be cared for, and was opened soon after.

What does the charity Sue Ryder do now?

The work of the charity has changed considerably since 1952.

We now provide expert care to people at the end of their lives whatever their health needs. We do this from our seven specialist centres and in people’s homes.

We also offer bereavement support nationally, through our online bereavement counselling, our online community or online advice and information resources Grief Guide and Grief Coach.

We also campaign for change so that everyone who is approaching the end of their life or grieving has access to the right support, at the right time.

And we seek to break down the barriers to talking about dying and grief - so we can all be better prepared and better equipped to be there for each other.

A Sue Ryder hospice volunteer serving breakfast to a patient in bed
How we make an impact
How we are making a difference by providing vital care and support to people going through the most difficult times of their lives.
A Sue Ryder nurse in blue scrubs arrives at a patient's house. In the background is a Sue Ryder branded car and in the foreground is the back of the person opening the front door.
How we work
Read about our vision, strategy and the values that guide everything we do.
A nurse in a white uniform leans towards a patient sat on a bed, they are looking at each other and smiling slightly
Our campaigns
We are working towards a future when everyone, who is dying or grieving, can access the quality of care they need and deserve.