nsucurrent.com May 24, 2018

New £65m Fund Inspired By Tessa Jowell To Tackle Brain Cancer

14 May 2018, 05:53 | Colleen Roy

Dame Tessa Jowell speaking in the House of Lords

Dame Tessa Jowell speaking in the House of Lords

A strong supporter of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, Dame Tessa was reported to have said she would "jump under a bus" for him.

"'She knew she was dying and yet she was prepared to give everything she had in order to help people in the future", Mr Blair said of her campaigning towards the end of her life.

The dedicated former minister has been particularly praised for her success in bringing the Olympics to London and her campaigning on cancer research.

"If anyone wants to know what politics can achieve they can just look at her life and how she lived it, and how she ended it as a testimony to all that's best in politics", he added. "She will be remembered for many things including of course successfully bringing us the London Olympics".

He said her impact on politics was enormous and "everything she touched turned to gold in some way, whether it was advancing equal pay for women, starting Sure Start - which is an huge programme for children in our country - or of course bringing the Olympics to Britain".

"It must be extended to all of them", Dame Tessa said in her final speech in the House of Lords.

In a statement released today, her family said: "Tessa, who was 70, was diagnosed with a gliobastoma multiforme brain tumour in May a year ago, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday, and had been in a coma since then".

A small private funeral will be held "in the coming days" and a memorial service "open to all" at a later date.

The Government has doubled the funding it will commit to tackle brain cancer to mark Dame Tessa Jowell's battle with the illness. She was also known for her work on Sure Start, a scheme to help children in early years.

Her successor in Dulwich, Helen Hayes MP, tweeted: "So very sad at the passing of my friend & predecessor Tessa Jowell who served Dulwich & West Norwood for 23 years".

Though losing her Cabinet post in Gordon Brown's 2007 reshuffle, Dame Tessa remained Olympic minister and oversaw every stage of the games from initial bid to competition.

Politicians across all parties have been paying tributes to the beloved former Labour MP all day as the announcement was made.

Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, former Labour director of communications and godfather to Dame Tessa's children Alastair Campbell said: "She really is the best of politics, the best of humanity, and as Tony Blair said this morning, there really aren't many like her".

'My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this hard time'.

Dame Jowell stepped down in 2015, standing unsuccessfully for the Labour nomination for London Mayor.

Theresa May and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, also announced an annual Tessa Jowell global symposium, which will host the best clinical, scientific and academic minds on brain cancer to to identify gaps, best practice and research priorities. In 1997, she was one of the 101 female Labour MPs on the benches following the party's landslide victory.

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