• strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cheshire/public_html/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/cheshire/public_html/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/cheshire/public_html/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/cheshire/public_html/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/cheshire/public_html/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.

The History

Group Captain Leonard Cheshire founded the charity Cheshire Homes in 1948. The Cheshire Homes is now an international organization caring for the terminally ill and the disabled.

In 1948, he heard that an acquaintance, Arthur Dykes, was terminally ill. Dykes asked Cheshire for a bit of land, on which to park a caravan until he was on his feet again; it was apparent that nobody had told him that he was dying. Cheshire couldn't maintain the deception and told Dykes the truth. To Cheshire's astonishment Dykes was much relieved. 'Thank you Len for letting me know,' he said, 'It's not knowing, that is the worst of all.' Cheshire invited Arthur Dykes to live with him in a house, ‘Le Court’ in Hampshire, which he had bought from his aunt. As Cheshire cared for Dykes he learned basic nursing and became a frequent helper at the local hospital. It was from here that his second 'guest' came, the 94-year-old bedridden wife of a man whose own frailness meant he could no longer care for her himself. Other people heard of Le Court and arrived - some to help, some to stay. The place had no visible means of support, but somehow the money always seemed to arrive. By the time Arthur Dykes died in 1948, there were 24 people staying at Le Court: there was no going back. On Dykes's death, Cheshire sat by his bed and picked up the Bible. Soon afterwards he converted to the Catholic faith.

Leonard Cheshire then decided he would look for people to care for and residents increased at Le Court. To his surprise, he found others in need coming to him for help and so started what was to become a worldwide organization developing services for disabled people.

In 1949 residents were pouring into the home and it was decided that another house was required. An abandoned Nissen hut in Cornwall soon became St. Teresa's. The Cheshire Trust commenced in March 1952.

The second Cheshire Home (as they were then known) was opened a couple of years later in Cornwall, and then the third in Kent. Each of these projects followed the same pattern: inspired and encouraged by Leonard Cheshire himself.Local communities came forward asking for help in setting up a service for themselves, they formed administrative committees, moved into whatever remotely suitable accommodation presented itself, and then set about fundraising for development. By 1955 there were not only five services in the UK, but the first overseas project had also been started outside the country, at Mumbai in India.

In 1959 Leonard married Sue Ryder, formerly a Special Operations Executive, famous for her work in Poland with concentration camp survivors.Together they embarked on a joint mission for Relief of Suffering around the World. Today there are over 200 Leonard Cheshire projects in 50 countries around the World caring for a range of disabilities of all ages.

The 1960s was a decade of rapid expansion. By 1970 there were 50 services in the UK, five in India and a Leonard Cheshire project of some sort in 21 other countries across the globe. Now well established as a pioneering provider of care services, the organization began to diversify the nature of the care it offered, and in the early 1970s he formed a ‘Care in the Community’ project on the UK south coast. Rolled out successfully, the project became‘’Care at Home Service’ which is just one of the many services offered by today’s Leonard Cheshire organization.

Cheshire also joined with his wife, Sue Ryder, to establish the Sue Rider Foundation for the sick and disabled. Leonard Cheshire strove all his life to give disabled people the right to choose how they lived their everyday lives, an ambition which resulted in the first Care at Home Service being set up in 1972. This was an innovative departure from traditional residential care and provided the opportunity for disabled people to receive support while continuing to live in their own homes. Since then, Leonard Cheshire has extended the range of services to include independent or semi-independent living and day services, amongst others.

Cheshire worked tirelessly for his charity. There cannot be many men who have received their country's highest award for wartime bravery, but who are remembered primarily for humanitarian service.

On the death of her husband, Sue Ryder became president of the Cheshire Foundation, which now runs over 200 facilities in over 50 countries, in addition to her role as leader of her own charity. She died in November 2000, aged 77.

The Leonard Cheshire Foundation is alive and thriving in many parts of the world