Calls for Dame Tessa Jowell to have permanent memorial in her constituency after Southwark Cathedral service

Josh Salisbury (24 October, 2018) Politics

The calls have been made after a memorial service was held to celebrate Dame Tessa's life in Southwark Cathedral last Thursday

21807(Image: Alexandra Coyle)

Calls have been made for Dame Tessa Jowell to have a permanent memorial in her constituency, following a service remembering her life at Southwark Cathedral last week.

Over a thousand people attended the service on Thursday October 18th to pay tributes to the former Dulwich and West Norwood MP, including previous prime ministers, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Dame Tessa’s daughter, Jess Mills, recalled her “endless, heart-bursting, infinite love”, while husband David Mills told those who turned out to pay their respects that her last words had been ‘love forever’.

The ceremony prompted calls for a permanent memorial to the former MP in Southwark, with one resident writing on social media: “Are there any plans for some kind of memorial to Tessa within her own constituency? Would be good to see one.”

Another constituent, Johnathan Potts, agreed, adding: “It would be great, (I’m a constituent). We’re blessed here with our MPs and so much else.”

Dame Tessa Jowell died from brain cancer aged 70 in May this year (Alexandra Coyle)

At a speech at the ceremony, the Brixton Soup Kitchen – of which Tessa was a patron – announced it will name its back garden after her in recognition of all the work she had done with them.

It later tweeted: “So sad saying our final goodbye to Tessa at her beautiful service at Southwark Cathedral.

“Who else could have got 3 former prime ministers and 2 mayors all expressing love for such an outstanding person! Thanks to the family for letting us speak! We will miss her dearly.”

Mayor Sadiq Khan also announced that a walkway at the Olympic Park would be named in Tessa’s honour, whilst Harvard University, where she taught before falling ill, said it would be naming a lecture course after her.

The Labour stalwart is credited with being the force behind the 2012 Olympics, having urged Tony Blair to back the bid while she was Culture Secretary.

She was also well-known for her work on Sure Start centres, which aim to improve the lives of young children and families particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dame Jowell passed away in May this year, aged 70, after being diagnosed with brain cancer in May 2017. She used the last months of her life to battle for better cancer care on the NHS, earning a standing ovation in the House of Lords in January with a moving speech about her condition.

She said: “In the end, what gives a life meaning is not only how it is lived, but how it draws to a close.

“I hope that this debate will give hope to other cancer patients, like me, so that we can live well together with cancer, not just dying of it. All of us, for longer.”

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