IN the Eighties she sold all her possessions to fund her humanitarian work in impoverished parts of India.
Now the charitable work of Sylvia Wright, a former Leeds nurse, is to be officially celebrated when she returns to the UK to receive an OBE at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.
So far, Sylvia has established a hospital, a school for deaf children and centres for the disabled in Tamil Nadu, one of the poorest states in India.
The Queen awarded Miss Wright an OBE in the New Year 2007 honours list for her work with deaf children.
Sylvia, 69, who has recently recovered from the insect-borne illness dengue fever, will now make the long journey home for the royal honour.
She said: "Our work is very demanding, with many difficulties, but many rewards.
"The more work we do, the more needs are uncovered, but definite improvements are seen in both the living conditions and health of the people we serve.
"I am looking forward to going to Buckingham Palace before returning to my work in Tamil Nadu."
Sylvia started visiting local villages in Tamil Nadu with a mobile clinic. Today she runs a 200-bed hospital, which opened in 2002 and treats 8,000 inpatients and 70,000 outpatients each year.
The school she had built for profoundly deaf children in 1996 now has 240 pupils and employs 32 teachers.
There is no welfare state in India, where the average family income is less than 1 per day.
Acute deafness is a major problem among children.
"Sylvia's dedication has been an inspiration to everybody both in the UK and India," said Tony Allinson, chairman of the Leeds-based Sylvia Wright Trust, which gives financial support to the hospital and the school.
"She has shown over the last 26 years what it is possible to achieve from small beginnings."
Ninety six per cent of the funds raised by the trust goes directly to India.
For more information or to donate to the Sylvia Wright Trust go to www.sylviawright.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org