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Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 10:01 GMT
Caroline Benn dies
Tony and Caroline Benn
Tony and Caroline Benn: married for over 50 years
Caroline Benn, the biographer, renowned educationalist and wife of former cabinet minister Tony Benn, has died in hospital after a long illness.

Mrs Benn passed away on Wednesday in Charing Cross hospital, London, aged 74.

As well as being married to the veteran Labour MP Tony Benn she was mother to another, Hilary Benn, elected for Leeds Central in a by-election last year.

The announcement of her death was made in a brief statement: "Tony Benn today [Wednesday] announced the death, after a very long illness, of his beloved wife Caroline, author, teacher and educationalist, who died last night in Charing Cross hospital, aged 74."

Mrs Benn was a respected campaigner for comprehensive education.

She wrote extensively on the subject and advocated mixed ability classes with the same course for all pupils.

In 1996 she published research she had conducted with Clyde Chitty from which they concluded that academically able pupils in comprehensives did just as well as their equivalents in grammar schools.

Among her achievements in other fields was her widely esteemed biography of the Labour Party's founder, Keir Hardie.

The Benn family are planning a private funeral and a "memorial meeting" to celebrate Mrs Benn's life and work.

Tony and Caroline Benn had been married for more than 50 years.

Their marriage produced four children - Stephen, Hilary, Melissa and Joshua - and, in turn, 10 grandchildren.

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See also:

11 Jun 99 | UK Politics
The Benn dynasty
22 Feb 00 | Labour centenary
Tony Benn: Lessons of history
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07 Aug 00 | UK Politics
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