Dame Tessa Jowell

Publish Date: 16th May 2018

Tessa Jowell’s courage and strength in facing cancer, with the support of her family and friends, is incredibly inspiring as well as moving. What is even more wonderful was the strength of her compassion for others while facing her own suffering. She was resolute that better ways of facing disease and seeking for cures should be found even if it challenged conventional and established wisdom.

The determination that compassion and empathy must lead to positive action was the hallmark of her life and work when as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport between 2001 and 2007 she also became Minister for Humanitarian Assistance.

The Human Aspects Group’s* contact with Tessa Jowell began in 2001 following the tragedy of 9/11. Under her strict guidance the DCMS Humanitarian Assistance Unit was established and worked tirelessly, seeking expertise from specialists from government, the public and voluntary sectors to produce effective UK guidance to enable responders to meet the needs of individuals affected by disaster.

She had direct involvement in meeting survivors and bereaved from all the disasters that followed including 9/11, Tsunami 2004, Bali bombings and the London bombings in July 2005. She visited the first Family Assistance Centre that was set up in the UK in central London following the London bombings of 2005. She listened to criticism of central government from responders and those affected. She made it her business to correct the problems to better meet the needs of people affected.

Then as now Tessa Jowell embraced a role that was hugely demanding and highly emotional.

She demonstrated compassion, empathy, understanding and was passionate about the importance of ensuring that individuals’ needs were met. She engaged personally with emergency responders at the scenes; she visited and spoke to individuals at the centres that were set up for survivors, relatives and friends and others directly affected.

Her family and friends are rightly proud of her.

Tessa Jowell’s legacy to us is the challenge that when disaster strikes we, emergency planners & responders, governmental and voluntary bodies and those affected will be ready and will cooperate to respond to all the physical, emotional and welfare needs of all those affected.

Peter Cheesman
Chair
Human Aspects Group
A Professional Working of the Emergency Planning Society