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Tributes paid to Shipston’s Dame Tessa Jowell

TRIBUTES have been paid to ex-Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell, who died at her Shipston home on Saturday aged 70.

Dame Tessa, who played a major role in securing the 2012 London Olympics, was diagnosed with brain cancer in May last year.

In the months leading up to her death she campaigned for more cancer treatments to be made available through the NHS.

Leading the tributes, former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair said she was a "committed public servant" who was "always true and loyal and decent and wise".

"She knew she was dying and yet she was prepared to give everything she had in order to help people in the future.

"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."

A statement from her family said it was "with great sadness and an enormous sense of loss" that they announced the news of her death.

She died peacefully at the family home near Shipston-on-Stour shortly after 10pm on Saturday, the statement said.

"Her husband David and their children Jessie and Matthew were by her side, with Jessie's husband Finn, Matthew's wife Ella, and David's children from his first marriage.

"In addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in recent months doctors tried innovative new treatments which Tessa gladly embraced, but sadly the tumour recently progressed very quickly."

The statement also thanked people for the "overwhelming support" Dame Tessa and her family had received since she became ill.

“We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all of the doctors, nurses and other medical staff who treated Tessa and looked after her throughout her illness, including the expert palliative care she has received in the past few days from Shipston Home Nursing, the local Hospice At Home.

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

Dame Tessa's daughter-in-law, food blogger Ella Mills, posted on Instagram that "Matt's extraordinary mum" was the "warmest and kindest soul".

It reads: “Matt’s extraordinary Mum passed away last night. She was lying in Matt, his sister Jess, and their Dad’s arms, as they told her that she would live forever in the centre of their souls. I’ve never seen love like I have since becoming part of this family.

“Tessa was the warmest and kindest soul, she welcomed me so generously into their family, and no matter what she has achieved in her life - and she achieved an extraordinary amount - I know her family are the thing that made her most proud. They were the complete core of her life and I’m honored to be part of it.

“Thank you for giving me Matt, Tessa, and for teaching us all so much about love, kindness, optimism and courage. The bravery you showed this past year was like nothing I have ever seen and I will be inspired by it every day of my life. Matt carries every bit of your goodness, drive, compassion and love, and I’ll look after him forever.”

Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi tweeted his tribute today. He said: “RIP Tessa. I knew you as a colleague and a constituent. You were so welcoming to me in parliament. I will miss you very much. Your work and your memory will live on forever.”

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