Founding member of Rochdale Heartbeat and former Woman of Rochdale Susan Ridgard dies

Date published: 14 April 2023

Susan Ridgard, a founding member of the Rochdale Heartbeat charity and a former Woman of Rochdale, has sadly died after illness.

Sue started her career in nursing in 1961 after working at a children’s nursery.

She worked her way up to becoming a sister on the coronary care unit at Birch Hill hospital until her retirement; whilst in this role, she mentored many staff most of whom were still in contact with her.

Sue was involved in the inception of Rochdale Heartbeat when it was felt that the heart patients and their families needed to be supported for a longer period after their rehabilitation period.

Rochdale Heartbeat has now been going for 35 years, and has raised thousands of pounds for equipment for the coronary care unit at Birch Hill Hospital and Rochdale Infirmary.

This has since continued for the silver heart unit at Fairfield and Oldham.


Sue Ridgard and members of Rochdale Heartbeat
Sue and members of Rochdale Heartbeat


Sue took on the position of Secretary of Rochdale Heartbeat after Jim Marshall passed away in 2002 and continued until she became unable to carry on in 2022.

Heartbeat was Sue’s life and she put 100% into the charity. She was always there for the members and their families, visiting ex-patients in their homes and also in hospital.

Even when Sue was very poorly, she was always asking after other people’s health.

Whenever there was any fundraising to be done, Sue was always the first on site and the last one to leave.

In 2010 Sue was voted Woman of Rochdale for all that she had done for the heart patients in Rochdale and the surrounding area, an honour that was more than well deserved.


In 2021 Rochdale Heartbeat was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service which was down to Sue's leadership of the group.

Sue's funeral will be held on Tuesday 18 April at 2.20pm at Rochdale Crematorium.

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