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Carers UK was sad to learn that former Labour MP, historian and Vice President of Carers UK Dr Hywel Francis died in hospital on Sunday.

He was the MP for Aberavon for 14 years until he stood down at the 2015 general election and did much to further the rights of unpaid carers.

Hywel successfully introduced the Carers Equal Opportunities Act in 2004, recognising that carers need "a life beyond their caring responsibilities”. This important piece of legislation dictates that carers should receive adequate personal support and information about their entitlements from local authorities. Hywel said the legislation was about valuing carers and their role and “not hiding them away”.

While going through Parliament this legislation was called Sam’s Bill, in memory of Hywel’s disabled son Sam who had Down’s Syndrome and died in 1997.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said:

“We are deeply sorry to hear about Hywel’s passing over the weekend. Hywel was a close ally of Carers UK and led the way, working closely with us, to introduce the Carers Equal Opportunities Act in 2004. This piece of legislation was a very important step forward for carers’ rights. 

“He was a kind, compassionate man who did everything he could to improve the lives of carers. He was adamant that carers get recognition and the support they needed to care without putting their own lives on hold.

“Our thoughts are with Mair, Hywel’s wife, and his family at this very difficult time.”

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