“Susie’s grandfather on her mother’s side was from Chios and was a Captain in the Greek Navy. His ship was torpedoed by the Germans in the 1st World War and he died soon after. As they had a house in Alexandria, Egypt, her grandmother, who was from Scala, Larnaca, took the children to Alexandria and Susie’s mother Artemis grew up in a cosmopolitan community. Artemis was well-educated, speaking, reading and writing Greek, French, Italian, English and Arabic. Susie’s father’s family are all from Tseri, Nicosia. Her father, Charalambos was also well-educated. He spoke and wrote fluent English, spoke Turkish and was well-respected as a policeman. They married in 1935 and, in 1938, in order for Charalambos to follow a new career in engineering; they came to England with baby Mimi, who was born in 1937. They lived in the house in Hornsey where Susie still lives.
“When war was declared in September 1939, Charalambos was sent to Corby, Northants to work on armaments. In the evening he was a soldier in the Home Guard. His inventions were so imaginative, that he was sent many times to London to the War Office to share these with them.
Because of Artemis’s fluency in languages, the BBC requested her to join them but, as Mimi was still little, they were evacuated up to Kettering, Northants to join Charalambos, which is where Susie was born in 1940. The war years were spent there.
“In 1945, the family moved back to Hornsey where both Mimi and Susie attended North Harringay Infants and Junior School. Mimi’s education was interrupted when she was 9 years old and contracted children’s rheumatoid arthritis, being hospitalised for 3 years. However, despite this, once Mimi returned to her grammar school and continued in further education, she became a brilliant Accountant and Economist.
“Susie went to Hornsey High Girls’ Grammar School and was the only girl of Cypriot background. It is here that she became staunch friends with Gill, Katherine’s mother, and Margaret – a friendship which celebrates 60 years this year. Gill, who sadly departed from us at the end of last year, said that Susie used to teach them Greek!
“As a young woman and later as a mature student Susie studied at the universities of London, Sorbonne, Middlesex, North London, studying history and languages. Her first employment was as a Researcher for Educational books for Cassell’s Book Publishers, followed by a Government project, setting up a Training Department, to bring education to the Retail Trade.
“Sadly, in 1970, Mimi and Susie’s Mother had a stroke and, within two days, their Father died of a heart attack. They were a close and loving family and were shattered but had to recover quickly to care for their Mother.
“In the meantime, the Cypriot population of Haringey had grown to 40,000 – approximately 30,000 Greek-Cypriots and 10,000 Turkish-Cypriots. The post of Liaison Officer between Central Government and Haringey Council was created to investigate the needs of the community and to create relevant services Susie was appointed to this post in 1972 and seconded to London University to study Psychology, Sociology, Social Administration/Social Work.
“In 1973 she set about identifying the needs of the Cypriot community and working with main services such as Education and Social Services. The first project she identified was the need for a fourth advice bureau in Haringey and one which would have Greek and Turkish speaking advice officers and this was proposed for Turnpike Lane.
“It was at this stage that I got to know Susie. However, I got to know her a lot better when we worked together during and after the coup in Cyprus in 1974 and subsequent invasion by Turkey. On the first day of the invasion and following weeks, Susie realised that refugees would probably mainly head for Haringey which then had the largest concentration of Cypriots outside Cyprus. She initiated a meeting and co-ordinated a committee of the Leader of the Council, the Chief Executive, the Councillors who were Chairs and Chief Officers of the main Committees, e.g. Social Services, Education, the then MPs for Tottenham and Hornsey, Norman Atkinson and Hugh Rossi and Cypriot community leaders. Between 1974 and 1975, 11,000 refugees arrived in Haringey alone.
“Susie was the heart and soul of the committee and worked day and night to create services and help the refugees, examples of which are as follows-.

• A temporary Advice Bureau was set up in a Haringey Council property in Wood Green, manned by Susie and the three Managers of the advice bureaux of Hornsey, Wood Green and Tottenham. The fourth advice bureau project was brought forward and established in Turnpike Lane sooner than originally planned.

• Susie worked with the Education Department to accept 600 refugee children into the schools immediately and worked with Central Government to supply teachers to teach them English immediately to ease the youngsters into school.

• She pursued Accommodation and Employment for the refugees and worked closely with the Cypriot community organisations, the community and also employers both within and outside Haringey
“As Cypriot Liaison Officer, Susie represented both the Cypriot Community and Haringey Council and worked closely with both.Simultaneously, there was work to be done liaising with the Home Office and this was carried out with colleagues from Camden, Hackney and Islington. In 1976, when requesting that Cypriot refugees should not be sent back to Cyprus, the Home Office agreed that they would accept a report from Susie as to the conditions and plight of the refugees in Cyprus. She went to Cyprus with camera in hand and her report was accepted. Therefore, the refugees were not sent back.
“Here, it would be right to acknowledge all the support from Mimi and their mother, the latter of whom was still recovering from her stroke, who encouraged Susie to go as they considered the plight of the Cypriot people as extremely important.In 1980, Susie diplomatically convinced the Home Office to grant the refugees “Indefinite Leave to Stay.
“Over the years, Susie contributed to legislation by injecting equality at Select Committees. She particularly took part in discussions before the Nationality Act to ensure that women were treated equally. On behalf of Haringey Council, she was also part of the committee which introduced “ethnic categories” into the National Census. These are also just a few examples of her work as Principal Race Equality Officer of Haringey Council.
“She also set up many services and created posts both within Education and Social Services to meet needs for the Cypriot community which, hitherto, had not been recognised or met.As we do, Susie also believes in the importance of working with the community organisations to work for the common good. The idea of bringing together 9 Greek-Cypriot and 3 Turkish-Cypriot organisations – representing culture, education, youth and women, to form the Association of Cypriot Organisations in Haringey was mutually discussed by Mimi and Susie. As a result of this Steering Committee’s work, which was co-ordinated by Susie, Haringey Council acknowledged the need for a Cypriot Community Centre that would help Cypriot organisations and the residents of Haringey. This was achieved in the late 70s when this old school building was found and later, in 1982, when the inauguration of the Cypriot Community Centre became a reality.
“Since its inception, the Cypriot Community Centre has provided services not just for Cypriots of all backgrounds, but also for all residents of Haringey as well as for many neighbouring Councils. As the Manager/Co-ordinator of the Centre, I have worked closely with both Mimi and Susie for 30 years. Mimi was our excellent Treasurer and, at one point, Chair. Susie was our Consultant whilst she was an Officer of Haringey Council and has, for many years, been our Chair since her retirement from the Council.
“Another of Susie’s projects was the setting up of the Cypriot Elderly & Disabled Group, based at the Cypriot Centre, which, over the years, has been developed by John Constantinou, Service Manager and his staff, into the excellent day care service that it is today. Susie continues to work with the CEDG. Soon after her retirement from Haringey Council, Susie was elected Chair of Cypriot Women’s League, one of the oldest Cypriot organisations in the UK, established in 1952 by Maritsa Tsioupra and other colleagues. Susie has led the organisation in campaigning for women’s equality, family and community stability, educational and social issues, etc. in both the UK and in Europe.
“For many years, Susie has also been an Executive Member of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, working cohesively with the other Members who represent both the political parties and community organisations in order to achieve a just solution for Cyprus.
“The Cypriot Community Centre has been functioning successfully for 30 years and its services and work are well known within the Cypriot community, Haringey and neighbouring Councils, to local MPs, Ministers as well as to the Cyprus High Commission and to the People of Cyprus. Susie has been a central figure in this success. Susie’s loving parents and her sister Mimi were a wonderful influence on Susie. Their parents instilled love for their origins and also their adopted country, giving stability and balance to both of them. Susie also enjoys a close and loving relationship with her cousins.
“Susie and I have enjoyed a very close working and family relationship for all these years. We also believe in working together and not in isolation to achieve the best outcomes for the common good. Susie is extremely well-known, respected and liked in the Cypriot community and in Cyprus. She is one of the kindest and most generous people I know. She is known as someone who always has a smile and kind word for everyone, never complains, has a positive and optimistic outlook on life. She also has boundless patience.
“Although she has passed the age of retirement!!!, she is still working as a vibrant, energetic and committed full-time volunteer and is the best example of someone whose first thought, courage and desire to help others is truly exceptional. Susie, together, we proudly acknowledge your achievement as an MBE.”

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