Tribute to Dame Tessa Jowell
Former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell, a supporter of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation and politician who put the support of victims of terrorism at the forefront of her work, has died aged 70.
Dame Tessa, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in May last year, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday.
Following the London 2005 attacks, Dame Tessa led efforts to support the victims and survivors and was active in supporting the assistance centre. She played a major role in securing the funding and Government support for the Foundation’s Survivors Assistance Network (SAN) and secured a meeting between the Foundation and Prime Minister David Cameron. In March 2013, Dame Tessa spoke at Prime Minister’s Questions to challenge the lack of cross-Government coordination of terrorism victim support and this later led to the creation of the Home Office Victims of Terrorism Unit. The Foundation received funding from Chancellor George Osborne’s 2013 budget and he thanked Dame Tessa for her representations.
She also played a major role in securing the 2012 Olympics for London when she served as culture secretary and setting up Sure Start. In recent months she campaigned for more cancer treatments to be made available through the NHS. She earned a minute-long standing ovation in the House of Lords in January for speaking about the issue.
Founder, Colin Parry OBE commented on Twitter: “Sad to hear that Tessa Jowell has lost her fight against cancer. She was a good politician and an even better human being who helped us meet David Cameron at No.10.”
Nick Taylor, Chief Executive recalls: “Tessa was a very warm person but with a steely resolve. She was a Privy Council member and I recall how when walking around Whitehall with her, the reaction she got from all sides of politics, it can only be described as respect.
“When she challenged David Cameron at PMQs, the normal baying and pantomime calling stopped and everyone went quiet and the PM’s answer was so measured. She was tenacious, tough but generous and her last campaign and way she has handled her illness has been truly humbling.”
The Survivors Assistance Network was established with Tessa’s support – for more information click here