Ryalla Duffy 11th April 1959 – 10th March 2021

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the sudden passing of Ainlee Ryalla Duffy.

Ryalla had lived the life, lit many fires and told many stories.

Siobhan Spencer

Ryalla was well known to many ACERT members. She participated in the ROMED training in 2014 and, as well as participating actively in the training and discussions, she submitted an exceptional personal study.

“The period since [waggon time] has seen a gradual, intentional and unrelenting erosion of rights of an entire way of life, aided and abetted by legislation and media bias.”

Ryalla Duffy

Ryalla and her family went through endless enforcements themselves from 1987 in Sussex when they had to leave their own land. She was well known in the southern counties (as well as the Midlands).

Ryalla was an excellent representative for her people and Romany rights. She was very knowledgeable of the New Forest families and saw the comparisons of enforced camps and the final solution and wrote a chapter on this history of the “compounds” in the Patrin book as part of the Patrin project with the Monitoring Group, seeing the similarities of this particular aspect of Romany Gypsy history.

Ryalla worked hard in Lincolnshire and was responsible for getting the much-needed work undertaken on the Summergangs Lane site, in Gainsborough.

…. a wonderful character who fought continuously for her people and their rights and who was the author of several books and the star of 2 or 3 dvds.. She was also the subject of the classic Anglo Romani book ‘Born on the Straw’ by Dorothy Strange (1968). The community will miss her hugely and I shall miss a very dear friend. 

Bob Dawson

In 2005 Ryalla was one of the founder members of the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups and took part in police training, parliamentary meetings and conferences.

Despite the knocks, it illustrates her sense of humour and the truth in life and how I would like to remember her.One of the last days we spent together was with Lord Bourne, for a heritage tribute as he laid a wreath at the grave of Private John Cunningham receiver of the Victoria Cross, in commemoration of the 100 years centenary of the Great War, a great day with her which, as usual, ended with great laughter.

Siobhan Spencer

She leaves behind her 4 daughters, 2 sons and all of 13 grandchildren.

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