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Jane Davidson, Assembly Education Minister
"I think Val's contribution to Welsh politics has been extraordinary"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Assembly Member Val Feld dies
Val Feld
Ms Feld founded the pro-devolution 'Yes for Wales' campaign
The Welsh Assembly Member for Swansea East, Val Feld has died of cancer at the age of 53.

Her death brings about the first by-election in the National Assembly for Wales.


She undertook one of the National Assembly's most important and difficult tasks in chairing its economic development committee and got on with the job with grace and humour

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones

"I believe I speak for the whole of Wales in saying that the death of Val Feld is a grievous blow for us all," said First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

"Although she had clearly been very ill for some months now, we had all assumed and believed that it would not be too long before Val would be back to her usual hard working self.

"She has tragically been cut down in her prime politically. It is Swansea's loss, the Welsh Assembly's loss and the Labour movement's loss. Above all it is Wales's loss," he added.

In May, she stepped down from an important role as chair of the assembly's economic development committee, blaming ill health.

At the time she denied this was the end of her career as a potential minister.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan: "Grievous blow."

"Today is a very sad day for the Assembly as it mourns the loss of one of its members," said Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones.

"Val was a determined lady who was never afraid of taking up a challenge.

"She undertook one of the National Assembly's most important and difficult tasks in chairing its economic development committee and got on with the job with grace and humour.

"She will be remembered for her dedicated work in championing women's rights and equality issues. My condolences go out to her family and friends."

Ms Feld took on the economic development committee role following Ron Davies's resignation from the chairmanship until she had to stand down due to illness.

Voluntary organisations

In addition to that, she was director of the Equal Opportunities Commission Wales from 1989 until she was elected to the assembly the following year.

Born in Bangor, north Wales, in 1947 she worked as a journalist in London and as a housing advice working in Lancashire.

She went on to become the founder and first director of housing charity Shelter Cymru, based in Swansea, and has been involved with many other voluntary organisations.

A long time supporter of devolution, she was the treasurer of the "Yes for Wales" campaign.

Her particular interests lay in economic development, housing and education issues.

Wales Labour Party General Secretary Jessica Morden described her death as "a tragic loss of an excellent Assembly Member".

"She will be sadly missed," she said.

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