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Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 10:26 GMT
Brown's daughter was 'inspiration'
Mr Brown and his wife Sarah pictured after she was discharged from hospital
Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah
The Chancellor Gordon Brown has spoken publicly for the first time about the death of his baby daughter.

The Labour politician said Jennifer Jane, who died after suffering a brain haemorrhage at 10 days old, had been an inspiration to him and his wife Sarah.

Thousands of people had written to the couple to express their support and tell of their own similar experiences, Mr Brown said.

Jennifer, who was born at Forth Park Hospital in Fife seven weeks premature on December 28, died at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh last month.

Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavillion
Jennifer was cared for at the Simpsons, Edinburgh
Mr Brown also paid tribute to the skills of the doctors and midwives who treated his daughter, and said their "friendship" during their time of grief had "truly moved" the couple.

The chancellor told ITV's breakfast programme GMTV on Tuesday: "Thousands of people around the country have written to us - many people have been in the position and lost a young child.

"They know the grief and pain of losing someone so young."

But he added that people also knew the joy of parenthood, and everyone had commented on his daughter's beauty.

Jennifer Jane was an "inspiration", he said.

'Rising expectations'

Their recent experiences had changed him and his wife, Mr Brown said, adding: "I don't think we'll be the same again."

The chancellor also spoke about his plans for the National Health Service, saying: "People want a better health service - they want value for money, they want to know the money they're putting in is bringing results."

Mr Brown said he was waiting for a report by former banker Derek Wanless, which would lay out how demographic changes and rising expectations will add to health costs in the coming years.

"I want to put (the Health Service) on a solid long term financial footing so people know its there when they need it," he said.

The chancellor said he was marking the Queen's Golden Jubilee by setting up a Commonwealth Education Fund to help educate children in other countries.

The government would put 10m into the fund and then ask businesses to donate to it, he said.

It would also use the Comic Relief sports day to raise more money by asking people to donate to the project - and would then match their contributions pound for pound.

See also:

07 Jan 02 | Scotland
Browns' baby dies in hospital
07 Jan 02 | Scotland
Scotland sends its condolences
28 Dec 01 | Health
Special care for early baby
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