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Dame Tessa Jowell dies aged 70 after battle with brain tumour

14 May 2018, 02:13 | Darnell Patrick

Dame Tessa Jowell dies aged 70 after battle with brain tumour

Dame Tessa Jowell dies aged 70 after battle with brain tumour

Dame Tessa, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017, died on Saturday aged 70 following a haemorrhage.

Her speech on the subject in the House of Lords earned her a spontaneous standing ovation.

The statement thanked people for their "overwhelming support" since Dame Tessa became ill.

Former Labour MP and cabinet minister David Blunkett described Dame Tessa as one of his closest friends and praised her commitment to helping families caught up in generations of disadvantage get the best start in life.

Former acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said Dame Tessa was "no softie", adding: "She was clever and tough".

Dame Tessa was appointed Deputy Mayor of the Olympic Village in recognition for her efforts in getting London the Games.

"Despite going through all of that and wanting to spend precious time with her family... she gave up so much of that time to continue to campaign, to ask for change, because it really matters", she told the BBC.

"Her contribution to the Olympic and Paralympic Games is easily defined - without Tessa there would have been no London 2012, and without Tessa they would not have been the success they were".

"She showed unflinching tenacity in persuading the prime minister and the cabinet that the government should throw its full weight behind the bid", he said.

Four-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Matthew Pinsent said Dame Tessa was "absolutely central to the effort to win and stage the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012".

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Elsewhere, tributes have flooded in from Dame Tessa's colleagues in Westminster. "Her strength in raising awareness of her illness and fighting for better treatment for others inspired us all". The constituency is now represented by Labour's Wes Streeting.

And other MPs talked about the sadness they felt on hearing of her death.

Tony Blair, under whom Dame Tessa served, said: "Tessa had passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known".

He said: 'Tessa Jowell was an inspirational woman and committed parliamentarian. She was probably only half-joking. "Deepest condolences to her family". Her belief that Labour should "modernise" was passionately held - forged at the coal face of a decade of Labour local activism.

Gordon Brown and his wife spoke of Dame Tessa's "sheer courage and compassion for others".

Keith Chegwin, Emma Chambers, Seah Hughes and Petter Sallis were some of the other names remembered during the segment, who have all been lost within the previous year.

She made it to Westminster in 1992, as MP for Dulwich and West Norwood. True Labour but reaching cross party.

Dame Tessa Jowell will be remembered as one of the main political architects of the hugely successful 2012 London Olympics, which captured the public imagination like little else in recent history.

"For Tessa Jowell the personal and the political were intertwined - from Sure Start to the Olympics". She stood down from the House of Commons at the 2015 general election and was nominated for a life peerage later that year.



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