The Sue Ryder homes in Holycross are sited close to the village on the area between the Church of Ireland and the ʻNew Schoolʼ. They were officially opened on the 15th Oct. 1999. Lady Sue Ryder herself cut the tape with the then Minister for Local Government, Noel Dempsey.
The foundation is non profit making and its motto is ʻShare and Care”. Thirty-nine houses are provided for retired people. The residents pay a monthly contribution based on their income. Each house has standard furnishings. There are other facilities like a day room, kitchen, dining room, TV room, laundry, prayer room and nursesʼ accommodation.
Baroness Sue Ryder of Warsaw and Cheshire (1924-2000) was born in Leeds. When World War II broke out, she volunteered to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanryeven though she was only 15, and she was assigned to the Polish section of the Special Operations
Executive. Sue’s job was to drive Special Operations agents to the airfield where they would take off for their assignments in Europe. She seems to have lied about her age in order to enlist. Her official date of birth was 3rd July 1924 but even in her autobiography, Child of My Love, she wrote “I was born on 3rd July 1923”.
After the war Sue Ryder volunteered to do relief work. She spent some time in Poland. In 1953 she established the Sue Ryder Foundation which in 2011 changed to Sue Ryder.
She was married to Group Captain Cheshire, a much decorated war hero, in 1959. He had received the highest and most prestigious award, The Victoria Cross, for bravery. He was one of the observers when the Nagasaki atomic bomb was dropped. After the war he founded a hospice which grew into the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. He received the title Baron Cheshire in 1991 for his charitable work. Both he and Sue were converts to the Roman Catholic Church. Today her charity operates more than 80 homes worldwide, has about 500 high-street charity shops and more than 8,000 volunteers.The Sue Ryder shop in Thurles is on Slievenamon Road.
Any group that would like to take A Village Walkʼthrough Holycross should contact 086 1665869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours of the Abbey continue every Wednesday and Sunday at 2pm.