Madam-SylviaSylvia Wright was born in West Yorkshire in 1938. She was educated at Lawnswood High School in Leeds and trained as a nurse at Leeds General Infirmary, becoming a Sister

Tutor in General and District Nursing and Health Visiting.

After a spell as a Senior Nursing Officer looking after Community Health in the inner city in Leeds, she became a Senior Lecturer in Nursing at Leeds Polytechnic (now the Metropolitan University).

In 1982, Sylvia felt a calling to serve the poor in India and after much research and even more prayer, she sold her house and car, cashed in her NHS pension and set off alone.

She settled in the town of Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, South India. There she first established a mobile clinic which treated over 400 patients a day in the scattered villages in one of the poorest regions of Southern India. Three years later she acquired her first small hospital to deal with illnesses and endemic diseases that had previously been left untreated because of the lack of doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines.

Sylvia’s own money soon ran out and she was supported for some time by a group of friends. This support has since developed into a small but very active Charitable Trust, The Sylvia Wright Trust, with supporters of all faiths from all parts of the UK and overseas.

Over the last 30 years Sylvia has developed a modern 220 bed hospital, a boarding school for 210 profoundly deaf children, two day centres for 80 severely disabled children and a Nursing College for 80 students. She also runs outpatient clinics treating 80,000 patients a year as well as many community health projects. The whole operation is non-denominational and open to all the local people according to their needs. Most of the local people are Hindus but there are also Muslims, Sikhs and Christians in the community. All are valued equally.

Sylvia received the MBE from the Queen in Madras in 1998 and a further well-deserved OBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2008, see photo below, in recognition of this continuing work.

Sylvia is modest and unsentimental about her achievements. These are, however, outstanding and have been driven by her faith, an incredible seven days’ a week work rate, a forceful personality and her renowned determination to overcome every obstacle.


Gold Medal from CMIn the year of 2003, I am very proud to say, the Tamil Nadu State Government recognizing the service of Rangammal Rehabilitation Society, honoured our Madam with a Gold Medal and the cash award, presented by the Chief Minister of that time M/S J. Jayalalitha.