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Beckham backing brain cancer campaign in memory of ‘close friend’ Tessa Jowell

David Beckham (Adam Davy/PA)
David Beckham (Adam Davy/PA)

David Beckham is backing a campaign to “transform NHS brain cancer care in Britain” in memory of “close friend” Baroness Tessa Jowell.

As culture secretary under Tony Blair, she played a leading role in delivering the London 2012 Olympics, and dedicated the final years of her life to raising awareness around brain cancer, before dying from a brain tumour in 2018.

The Tessa Jowell Foundation is marking the 10-year anniversary of the London 2012 opening ceremony by organising the release of a special cut of Danny Boyle’s famous show to be screened in cinemas across the country.

Screenings take place on July 27, with the proceeds going to the foundation.

The charity, in collaboration with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, has helped create a national brain cancer strategy and collect comprehensive data on NHS brain cancer services.

The campaign is supported by Beckham and athletics star Denise Lewis, as the charity hopes to raise £4 million for brain cancer care and the development of a new children’s centre of excellence programme.

Beckham, who was an Olympic torch-bearer in 2012, said: “It is a shocking and widely unknown fact that brain cancer is the biggest cancer killer of children and people under 40 in the UK.

“As a close friend of Tessa, it is my honour to help support her family foundation to deliver her final campaign – to transform NHS brain cancer care in Britain.

“Tessa was absolutely key to bringing the Olympics to London, with all the incredible memories that brought, and I cannot think of a better way of honouring such a wonderful person than by supporting a cause she cared so passionately about. Please donate if you can.”

Baroness Jowell’s daughter Jess Mills, chief executive of the Tessa Jowell Foundation, added: “Brain cancer is the biggest cancer killer of children and people under 40 in the UK, yet treatment options and advances in research have not changed in decades. Mum believed passionately that that could and must change.”

The public will be able to attend a free showing of the opening ceremony show on a big screen in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, east London, which was the site of the original ceremony.