Sylvia Wright: Leeds lifesaver makes rare trip home

A Leeds woman who sold all her worldly goods to help look after the sick in southern India is making a rare trip home to Yorkshire to raise money for new projects.

In 1982, senior lecturer Sylvia Wright gave up friends and family life in Leeds to devote her life to nursing.

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She now runs a 220-bed hospital in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu which helps patients suffering with conditions ranging from cancer to diabetes.

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Other projects include two day centres for 80 severely disabled children, a residential school for profoundly deaf youngsters and a recently opened Nursing College.

Now talented students from schools across Leeds are busy rehearsing for a special charity concert to boost Sylvia's fundraising efforts for an area where most people are too poor to be able to afford medical treatment.

When she left Leeds all those years ago, Sylvia's plans were for a modest mobile clinic.

Some 28 years on the hospital she helped found has two operating theatres, dialysis machines, CT scanners, and 280 staff including 10 doctors and 120 nurses.

Proceeds from the fundraising event at the Notre Dame Sixth Form College on Sunday May 9 will go to the Leeds-based Sylvia Wright Trust, which raises around 180,000 a year.

Chairman Tony Allinson said: "Sylvia's dedication has been an inspiration to everybody both in the UK and India; she has shown over the last 28 years what it is possible to achieve from small beginnings.

"This concert will be a lovely way to support Sylvia's continuing work in Tamil Nadu and we are most grateful to Notre Dame Sixth Form College for offering their facilities and all the performers who are giving their time and talents so generously."

One of the star performers at the concert will be soul and jazz singer Tessa Koenig, from St Mary's School in Menston, who won the Leeds Schools' Talent Competition in 2009.

She said: "I am very excited to be part of such a meaningful event. It is such a worthy cause and it is a real privilege to be invited to perform."

Other performers will include the Cardinal Heenan Madrigal Group, Leeds University Medics Choir, and members of the Lawnswood Singers, some of whom were with Sylvia at Lawnswood High School over 50 years ago.

Tickets for the event are 5 each or 10 for a family group.

Refreshments including afternoon teas with a taste of India will also be served. Raffle prizes will include a flight in a helicopter. Booking forms can be downloaded from: www.sylviawright.org

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