A Charitable Life
This Is Your Life: A Charitable Life feature
  Sue Ryder This Is Your Life Sue RYDER

12 November 1956

Sue - a reluctant subject - was surprised by Eamonn while recording a 'mock' interview at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith.
In 1953 Sue established the Sue Ryder Foundation - a charity which aimed to provide homes for concentration camp survivors and nursing care for the elderly and disabled.

     
     
Duncan Guthrie This Is Your Life This Is Your Life Big Red Book Duncan GUTHRIE

4 February 1957

Eamonn surprised Duncan while backstage at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith.
When Duncan's eldest daughter developed poliomyelitis in 1949 he made it his mission to alert society to the problems of polio, and in doing so, he established the National Fund for Poliomyelitis Research in 1952.

     
     
  Percy Flood This Is Your Life Percy FLOOD

29 April 1957

While imprisoned in a German prisoner-of-war camp Percy developed the idea of a boys club - 'a memorial to the comradeship we have shared in our captivity...'.
The Brunswick Boys Club was officially opened in 1949 in Fulham, London, and is still active today. Percy was surprised by Eamonn at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith.

     
     
  Richard Carr-Gomm This Is Your Life Richard CARR-GOMM

4 November 1957

Eamonn surprised the former soldier turned charity worker - while on his honeymoon - in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
The former Coldstream Guard who invested his Army gratuity on a house for lonely older people in the London borough of Bermondsey, was greeted by journalist Godfrey Winn, among others.

     
     
Paul Field This Is Your Life Paul Field This Is Your Life Paul FIELD

10 March 1958

Paul - a former policeman - worked for the charity the Children's Society from 1934. His concern for what happened to children once they left the Society's care at the age of fourteen led him to establish The Children's Family Trust in 1946.
Eamonn surprised him at the BBC Television Theatre with the help of entrepreneur Billy Butlin.

     
     
Freddy Bloom This Is Your Life Freddy Bloom This Is Your Life Freddy BLOOM

1 December 1958

The journalist - whose daughter was born deaf, possibly due to the malnutrition she suffered as a prisoner-of-war in a Japanese prison camp - devoted her life to the needs of deaf children, supporting a small society which became the National Deaf Children's Society. Freddy was surprised by Eamonn outside London's Playhouse Theatre, from where the tribute was then broadcast.

     
     
Miriam Moses This Is Your Life Miriam Moses This Is Your Life Miriam MOSES

15 December 1958

The social reformer - and first female mayor of the London borough of Stepney - was surprised by Eamonn in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
Known as 'The Angel of the East End', Miriam co-founded the Brady Girls' Club in 1925, an organisation that offered assistance to the children and families of the local Jewish community.

     
     
Elsie Mullock This Is Your Life Elsie Mullock This Is Your Life Elsie MULLOCK

22 December 1958

Elsie's motherly instincts led to her seeking work as a Matron with The Children's Society at St Peter's Lodge in Malvern, Worcestershire, where she cared for dozens of homeless and orphaned boys for over twenty years. She was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre, having been led to believe she was there to assist in a recorded appeal for funds for The Children's Society.

     
     
John Vidler This Is Your Life This Is Your Life Big Red Book John VIDLER

29 December 1958

John was lured to the BBC Television Theatre to watch a film entitled 'In Prison' in order for Eamonn to surprise him in the audience.
John - who joined the prison service in 1932 - is credited with effectively revolutionising the English prison system during his twelve years tenure as the governor of Maidstone Prison.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Francoise RIGBY

2 November 1959

Francoise - a resistance worker during the Second World War who helped the Allied forces escape Belgium - was surprised by Eamonn in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
After the war, she established the charity Lifeline, which helped thousands of displaced persons in Germany to rebuild their lives.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book John BARCLAY

9 November 1959

Eamonn surprised the humanitarian in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
John co-founded the charity International Help for Children with the principal intention of finding families to give free hospitality to children from across Europe affected by the Second World War.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Leonard STANMORE

21 December 1959

Leonard - a chauffeur from Launceston in Cornwall, who was known locally as 'Saint Leonard' due to his extensive charitable endeavours - was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre, having been brought there by his friend Allan Callow to watch an edition of This Is Your Life while visiting London on business.

     
     
  Frederic Morena This Is Your Life Frederic MORENA

18 January 1960

The former actor - who was paralysed by polio at the age of 42 - was surprised by Eamonn on the stage at the BBC Television Theatre.
Frederic co-founded the Infantile Paralysis Fellowship, which became known as the British Polio Fellowship, the first support organisation for polio-disabled people, with a fellow polio sufferer, Patricia Carey.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Hilda ROWCLIFFE

25 January 1960

Bristol-born Hilda, who worked as a missionary at the Sailor's Rest, a voluntary-run mission for visiting sailors in the French port of Dunkirk, was surprised by Eamonn in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
Despite ill health, Hilda spent 30 years in Dunkirk dispensing kindness and help to visiting ships' crews.

     
     
Thomas Salmon This Is Your Life Thomas Salmon This Is Your Life Thomas SALMON

1 February 1960

The Church Army volunteer - who came to London from Antigua in 1954 to join the Christian organisation - was surprised by Eamonn following the dinner at the Daily Mirror annual awards presentation at London's Mayfair Hotel.
Fred, as he was known, became the first man of colour to become a subject of This Is Your Life.

     
     
  Harry Webb This Is Your Life Harry WEBB

15 February 1960

Harry, who launched The Stonehouse Gang in 1938 in an attempt to deal with youth delinquency and give young people a sense of purpose, adventure and excitement, was surprised by Eamonn in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
Leonard Cheshire This Is Your Life Leonard Cheshire This Is Your Life Leonard CHESHIRE

19 September 1960

The charity founder and former Royal Air Force pilot - who was the youngest Group Captain in the service and, following his Victoria Cross for gallantry, the most decorated - was surprised by Eamonn in London's Vincent Square.
Among those greeting Leonard was his wife - and former This Is Your Life subject - Sue Ryder.

     
     
George Bennett This Is Your Life George Bennett This Is Your Life George BENNETT

26 September 1960

The former soldier who had fought in the Boar War and the First World War was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Riverside Studios in London's Hammersmith.
After leaving the Army in 1920, George had been homeless before joining the Wayfarers Benevolent Society and becoming warden of Chilton Hall in County Durham, a home for homeless boys.

     
     
  Victor de Spiganovicz This Is Your Life Victor de SPIGANOVICZ

21 November 1960

Eamonn surprised the writer and humanitarian in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
Victor - affectionately known as 'Spiggy' - wrote, published, and sold his own books to raise funds to establish and maintain a boys' club for the underprivileged youth of Edinburgh.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Elizabeth AMBRIDGE

30 January 1961

Elizabeth was surprised by Eamonn - with the help of Coco the Clown - while attending the Bertram Mills circus at London's Olympia.
After giving birth to her daughter, she began helping mothers by looking after their babies and offering help and welfare advice, a service that grew into the Ambridge Trust.

     
     
  Edward Chad Varah This Is Your Life Edward Chad VARAH

20 February 1961

The Anglican priest and social activist was surprised by Eamonn in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
As Rector of the Church of St Stephen, Walbrook, in the City of London, the Reverend Chad Varah founded the world's first crisis hotline organisation, The Samaritans, in 1953, which offered telephone support to those contemplating suicide.

     
     
  Bob Oatway This Is Your Life Bob OATWAY

9 April 1962

The scrap merchant - known as the 'Santa Claus of Shepherd's Bush' - was surprised by Eamonn in his West London junk yard.
Bob purchased the Turrets Hotel in Deal, and established the Children's Friendship League, a charity which provides free holidays for underpriviledged children and their families.

     
     
  Michael Wilson This Is Your Life Michael WILSON

8 January 1963

Michael - surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre - studied at the Royal College of Music, but gave up his career as a violinist to help establish the Sunfield Care Home in Birmingham.
Sunfield provides education for children with severe and complex learning needs through both music and colour light therapy.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Dick HOSKIN

15 January 1963

Eamonn surprised the charity fundraiser in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
Dick's enthusiasm for performing led him to become involved in amateur dramatics after the Second World War, back in his home town of Colne, staging pantomimes which raised more than £50,000 for charity.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Phyllis LUMLEY

5 March 1963

Phyllis, who was born crippled and without arms, was surprised by Eamonn backstage at the BBC Television Theatre.
Despite her disability Phyllis had seven children of her own, and became a mother to many others, through fostering.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Phyllis Holman RICHARDS

23 April 1963

Phyllis - who established an adoption society in 1942 - was surprised by Eamonn outside the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Gladys AYLWARD

14 May 1963

The evangelical Christian missionary who spent many years in China, and whose story had been dramatised in the Hollywood film, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
  John Dodd This Is Your Life John DODD

14 November 1963

The former prisoner-of-war was surprised by Eamonn outside the London prison, Wormwood Scrubs. During the Second World War, John had been interned in Singapore's Changi prison. On repatriation, he became concerned with the welfare of ex-prisoners, and in 1958, helped establish the Langley House Trust - a charity which continues today.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Evelyn BARK

23 January 1964

Evelyn - the director of International Affairs for the Red Cross - was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre.

At the end of the Second World War, Evelyn established a tracing service for the Red Cross, which made it possible for thousands of concentration camp survivors to be reunited with families and friends.

     
     
  Madge Watson and Elsie Wood This Is Your Life Madge WATSON and Elsie WOOD

30 January 1964

The two ladies - who held the distinction of being the first female superintendents appointed by the Royal National Mission of Deep Sea Fishermen - were surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre. During the Second World War they ran the mission in Milford Haven, when it also acted as a naval hospital - caring for up to 60 seamen patients at a time.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Bert MATTHEWS

20 February 1964

Bert - who was known as the 'King of Pearly Kings' - was responsible for raising thousands of pounds for charity.
He was surprised by Eamonn on the stage of the BBC Television Theatre, where he recieved filmed messages from entertainer Tessie O'Shea and comedian Arthur Askey.

     
     
  Dot Palmer This Is Your Life Dot PALMER

5 March 1964

The Plymouth housewife and former waitress - who fostered hundreds of children after her own had grown up - was suprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre.
Dot thought she was taking part in a show called Good Neighbours, and her first surprise was her make-up girl - who turned out to be her own daughter!

     
     
Florence Priest This Is Your Life Florence Priest This Is Your Life Florence PRIEST

19 January 1977

Eamonn surprised the recently retired medical missionary in the audience at Thames Television's Euston Road Studios.
Florence is described as a legend by those who knew of her 28 years missionary work in Bangladesh - where she had faced every kind of hardship to make a contribution to thousands of lives.

     
     
Lin Berwick This Is Your Life Lin Berwick This Is Your Life Lin BERWICK

21 December 1977

Lin - who is blind, has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user - was surprised by Eamonn during an office Christmas party at the Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia in the city of London, where she works as a telephonist.
Lin spends much of her spare time counselling other disabled people.

     
     
Alice Goldberger This Is Your Life Alice Goldberger This Is Your Life Alice GOLDBERGER

25 October 1978

Alice was the Matron of Weir Courtney in Lingfield, one of 28 hostels opened at the end of the Second World War to receive and care for the orphaned child survivors of concentration camps.
She was surprised in the audience at the New London Theatre, when Eamonn asked her to read out the name on the cover of the big red book.

     
     
Joyce Pearce This Is Your Life Joyce Pearce This Is Your Life Joyce PEARCE

11 April 1979

Eamonn enlisted the actor Peter Ustinov to help him surprise Joyce at the New London Theatre.
Joyce and two fellow schoolteachers formed the Ockenden Venture in 1951, as a response to the huge need for support for the thousands of refugees and displaced people, particularly children, in Europe after the Second World War.

     
     
Pat Seed This Is Your Life Pat Seed This Is Your Life Pat SEED

28 November 1979

The Lancashire based journalist was surprised by Eamonn in the foyer of the New London Theatre. Pat's courage and determination to change the law to allow hospitals to appeal for public fundraising resulted in a million pound fund, which was used for new equipment at Manchester's Christie Hospital - along with a purpose built department named after her.

     
     
Joan Wells This Is Your Life Joan Wells This Is Your Life Joan WELLS

25 December 1980

The housewife from Chester was in the audience at the Royalty Theatre - for what she thought was a Christmas carol concert - when Eamonn surprised her.
For this special Christmas Day broadcast, Eamonn reveals the heart-warming and moving story of a foster mother who cared for more than 150 children over 27 years.

     
     
Kitty Wilson This Is Your Life Kitty Wilson This Is Your Life Kitty WILSON

16 March 1983

The story of another foster carer - described as 'a mother in a million' - is revealed after Eamonn surprises Kitty at London's Liverpool Street station - surrounded by a huge gathering of friends and family.
Kitty devoted more than sixty years to mothering foster children who were in desperate need of care and love.

     
     
Gloria Cameron This Is Your Life Gloria Cameron This Is Your Life Gloria CAMERON

27 December 1983

A heart warming story was revealed for a Christmas audience when Eamonn - interrupting a Calypso concert - surprised the charity worker at the West Indian Parent Family Centre in Brixton, London. Gloria - also a Justice of the Peace and an actress - was greeted via a live link by her son - a musician with the pop group, Hot Chocolate.

     
     
Margaret Hayles This Is Your Life Margaret Hayles This Is Your Life Margaret HAYLES

1 February 1989

Michael surprised Margaret at Teddington Studios, assisted by many of the children she had helped through her charity, Dreams Come True. The charity's mission is to bring joy to children who are terminally or seriously ill by fulfilling their treasured dreams.
Among those paying tribute are pop stars Paul Young and Roger Daltrey, and businessman Richard Branson.

     
     
Eluned Williams This Is Your Life Eluned Williams This Is Your Life Eluned WILLIAMS

21 March 1990

The children's worker with the National Children's Home was surprised by Michael at the charity's London headquarters.
In her forty four year service with the charity - which has since been renamed as Action For Children - Sister Eluned managed a children's home in Dinas Powys, Wales.

     
     
Jim Howard This Is Your Life Jim Howard This Is Your Life Jim HOWARD

19 February 1992

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of Oxfam, one of the charity's most pivotal figures was surprised by Michael in the audience at Thames Television's Teddington Studios.
Jim was the agency's senior technical advisor, and as such was in the frontline of virtually every major international emergency from 1965 to date.

     
     
Pat Kerr This Is Your Life Pat Kerr This Is Your Life Pat KERR

21 October 1992

The former British Airways stewardess was surprised by Michael during a book signing at Heathrow Airport. Pat quit her jet-set lifestyle and moved to Bangladesh after seeing first hand how an orphanage was fighting for survival. Her efforts helped establish a fundraising campaign to build Sreepur Village, a new permanent home for the orphaned children of Dhaka.

     
     
Coral Atkins This Is Your Life Coral Atkins This Is Your Life Coral ATKINS

6 April 1994

The actress - perhaps best known for her role in the 1970s wartime drama, A Family At War - was suprised by Michael at her Newbury home, Crossways - a foster home for abused and neglected children - a venture which she started after giving up her acting career. Glenda Jackson - another actress who famously changed career - is among those paying tribute.

     
     
Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann RACHLIN

31 January 1996

The music educator, writer and the founder of The Beethoven Fund for Deaf Children, was surprised by Michael on the stage of the Savoy Theatre, following a gala concert held to celebrate the life of her late husband, Ezra. The Beethoven Fund is a charity dedicated to helping hearing-impaired children learn to communicate through musical speech therapy.

     
     
Elizabeth Ward This Is Your Life Elizabeth Ward This Is Your Life Elizabeth WARD

27 January 1997

Michael enlisted the help of the Duke of Westminster to surprise the charity organiser at London's Guys Hospital. Elizabeth founded the British Kidney Patient association in 1975 when her son Timbo was diagnosed with kidney failure at the age of 13. Her work led to a greater awareness of the disease and the introduction of the Kidney Donor Card.

     
     
Mark Cook This Is Your Life Mark Cook This Is Your Life Mark COOK

8 February 1999

The former UN Commander was surprised by Michael at the Royal Gurkhas HQ in Hampshire. It was while Mark was based in former Yugoslavia that he saw first hand how a destroyed Croatian orphanage resulted in 60 homeless children. Mark arranged a television appeal which raised over a million pounds, and the charity Hope and Homes for Children was founded.

     
     
Donald Woods This Is Your Life Donald Woods This Is Your Life Donald WOODS

14 December 2000

The South African writer and human rights campaigner was surprised by Michael - appropriately, at the South African High Commission in London. Hollywood actor Kevin Kline, who portrayed Donald in the film Cry Freedom sends a recorded message, while in the studio Donald is greeted by the son of his friend Steve Biko, who died in police custody.

     
     
John van Weenan This Is Your Life John van Weenan This Is Your Life John VAN WEENEN

21 February 2001

A big red lorry was deployed to help Michael surprise the karate expert turned charity organiser at a sports centre in Flitwick. John is the Executive Director of Taskforce Albania, an organisation that has provided over £7 million in aid to bring relief to sick and desperate children since the end of communism in the country in 1991.

     
     
Christina Noble This Is Your Life Christina Noble This Is Your Life Christina NOBLE

2 May 2002

Born out of a dream, and overcoming numerous cultural and political hurdles, The Christina Noble Children's Foundation was established in Vietnam in 1989 to offer much needed medical, educational and care facilities for the country's thousands of abandoned and destitute children. Michael surprised it's founder at a fundraising fashion show and auction in central London.

     
     
Lloyd Scott This Is Your Life Lloyd Scott This Is Your Life Lloyd SCOTT

15 May 2002

Lakeside Shopping Centre is where Michael surprised the former professional football goalkeeper turned charity fundraiser.
Lloyd, who became best known for his charity marathons after surviving leukaemia, is greeted by fellow goalkeeper Peter Shilton, while explorer Ranulph Fiennes and actor John Mills send recorded messages.

     
     
Nicholas Winton This Is Your Life Nicholas Winton This Is Your Life Nicholas WINTON

1 May 2003

Nicholas organised the rescue and safe passage to Britain of 669 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War, in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport. Michael surprised Nicholas at Winton House - an Abbeyfield Society care home for the elderly in Windsor, named in his honour.

     

* the pre-1970 subjects were surprised by a different coloured book - see the Big Red Book feature for full details