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Catholic Life

Yorkshire welcomes Sylvia

A nurse who sold all her worldly goods to help look after the poor, sick and disabled in southern India returns to Yorkshire

By on Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Ciara Stevens of St Paul’s Catholic Primary School presents flowers to Sylvia Wright

Ciara Stevens of St Paul’s Catholic Primary School presents flowers to Sylvia Wright

A former Leeds nurse who sold all her worldly goods to help look after the poor, sick and disabled in southern India has made her annual trip home to Yorkshire.

In 1982 Sylvia Wright left her home, parish and friends in Leeds as well as her senior lecturer post at Leeds Metropolitan University to devote her life to those less fortunate than herself.

Twenty-nine years later, at the age of 73, she runs a 220-bed hospital in the poor Indian state of Tamil Nadu and cares for patients suffering with conditions ranging from TB and diabetes to HIV/Aids. Some 80,000 outpatients are treated each year.

Other projects include two day centres for 80 severely disabled children, a residential school for 210 profoundly deaf children and a recently opened nursing college to train 80 student nurses to the high standards she learned at Leeds General Infirmary. Sylvia was awarded the OBE in 2008.

During her visit, Sylvia visited several Leeds Catholic schools, community groups and churches to thank them for their loyal support over the years. Sylvia said to them all: “Without you I can do nothing.”

Sylvia paid her first visit to the Leeds Hindu Temple whose members have also begun helping her in her work.

She also hosted a successful coffee morning at Sandmoor Golf Club in Leeds where she spoke to over 150 supporters about her continuing work among the poor.

Financial support for Sylvia’s projects is coordinated by the The Sylvia Wright Trust, a registered charity, which sends £200,000 each year to help fund her humanitarian projects. Ninety-seven pence in every £1 raised goes directly to support this work. Two hundred out of the 210 profoundly deaf children in Rangammal Boarding School are now sponsored by British supporters. It costs £30 per month to clothe, feed, educate and accommodate a child in the school. Sponsors give what they can afford.

Anyone interested in sponsoring one of the remaining 10 children is invited to contact Angela Clark on 0113 2677660 or via email at sponsors@sylviawright.org. For more information, visit Sylviawright.org.