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Sue Stead (Super Sue) 1951 – 2013

Super Sue Stead

by Chenda Appleyard

Although Super Sue was seriously ill, we hadn’t expected to lose her quite so soon. She was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in May, and advised that the outlook was of the order of two years. So three months was a bit of a shock.

Super Sue lived in Leeds for many years and we first got to know her when she offered her help when we were organising the 1995 Annual Gathering (AG) in Leeds. At the time, she was recovering slowly from a long and arduous battle with breast cancer. She told us she couldn’t do any standing up or running around but could sit at the admin desk doing boring admin stuff as much as we wished. Great! Just the sort of help we needed. And she was great. Very efficient and competent and never complained about getting all the boring jobs.

We had quite a number of regulars called Sue (Tall Sue, Small Sue, Sleepy Sue, Not Sue) so she needed a personalised prefix. She told us that she was a bit like a super rat as she was taking warfarin on a regular basis, so she became Super Sue. She evolved into an active member of the local group, hosting bowling evenings, cinema trips, and games afternoons at her home.

One of her speciality games was Mah Jongg, and she taught quite a number of us to play Mensa Connections. She also became involved with Mensa Games on a national level, both as a successful participant and as assistant to the Games Officer, Alan Farrell. This included organising a very successful Games Weekend at a hotel in Leeds.

As her health never fully recovered, she only managed part time work, but she was actively involved with a credit union and was a very successful Avon Lady. She tended to spend much of the British winters ill with chest infections, as her immune system was badly compromised by her previous illness. This resulted in her decision to go and live somewhere with a more benign climate, so, a few years ago, she moved to southern Spain. She made friends with other expats and was soon involved in a local choir and a quiz team. We were always encouraged to visit and many of us have had some great holidays with Super Sue in Spain.

I decided earlier this year that a visit to Super Sue would be an excellent way to unwind and chill out after organising this year’s AG in York. I had arranged to go and stay with her in early October, and make an enthusiastic start on her bucket list. If only!


Originally featured in Spotlight Nor'East November 2013.