Who was Leonard Cheshire?
Leonard Cheshire's lifetime (born 7 September 1917 , died 31 July 1992 ) was filled with a range of amazing achievements.
He was one of the most decorated RAF officers during the Second World War, including receiving the Victoria Cross for flying a hundred missions. He achieved the rank of Group Captain. He was an observer of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki in 1945. He set up the first Cheshire Home Le Court , in Hampshire in 1948 and the worldwide movement named after him. (There are Cheshire services in over 50 countries throughout the world). Queen Elizabeth 11 conferred the prestigious Order of Merit on him in 1981. In 1991 he was made a life peer. Leonard Cheshire became a Catholic on Christmas Eve 1948. His religion, deep faith and prayer became central to his whole existence and influenced all his actions and thoughts.
Leonard Cheshire was married to Lady Sue Ryder, who also established a charitable Foundation, the Sue Ryder Foundation, to help disadvantaged people. There is a Sue Ryder Foundation in Ireland that operates a number of supported accommodation services for elderly people. Leonard and Sue had two children, Jeromy and Elizabeth (Gigi).
A few years before his death Leonard Cheshire was diagnosed as having motor neurone disease. In July 1992 he wrote about having motor neurone.
“Far from this unexpected development being a setback, I feel in my heart it is far more probably a blessing in disguise. Already it is giving me new insights into how disability affects one's life and what one needs to do to try and rise above the limitations it poses.”