A Tribute to Dr Jenny Vaughan from Cllr Stephen Cowan

Hammersmith & Fulham leader marks the passing of former councillor

Dr Jenny Vaughan

April 15, 2024

I was so very sorry to learn that former councillor Dr Jenny Vaughan died on Easter Sunday, 31 March 2024. Jenny passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. The flags have been lowered to half-mast in respect. Jenny was 55-years old.

Jenny served as a Hammersmith & Fulham councillor between 1998 to 2006, first representing Walham, then Sands End. Jenny brought her medical expertise which contributed hugely to the public health work of the council, especially as chair of the Health & Social Care Scrutiny Panel. However, the characteristics that most stood out were Jenny’s passion for justice and her willingness to stand up for other people. These traits saw Jenny rise to national prominence.

This TEDx talk, which Jenny gave last year, gives an insight into the clear-headed reasoning Jenny could deploy to right wrongs. Similarly, on one of the many occasions speaking to BBC Newsnight she defended doctors who had been disciplined purely for speaking out about their serious concerns during the pandemic. It was typical that when Charing Cross Hospital was threatened with closure, Jenny played an important role in saving it and she spearheaded a similar role for Ealing Hospital.

As a leading neurologist, Jenny worked on movement disorders and the genetic mutations causing early-onset Parkinson's disease. Jenny’s friend Dr David Nicholl summed up her commitment saying: “I first met Jenny when we were both doing PhDs on the genetics of Parkinson’s disease in the 1990s. Bizarrely an intellectual passion and curiosity for trying to figure out ‘why something wasn’t right’ in a family tree in our respective PhDs turned out to be directly relevant in our work on injustice.”

Jenny Vaughan (left) celebrates her election to H&F Council in 1998
Jenny Vaughan (left) celebrates her election to H&F Council in 1998

Jenny went on to become a founding member and co-lead of the Doctors Association U.K. (DAUK), a council member for the Medical Women’s Federation and a voice of reason during the Pandemic. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2023 New Year Honours.

Jenny Vaughan was a force for good in the world. She had fought cancer for a long time but throughout remained a very selfless person committed to making the world a better place. She was a Christian and someone who spoke up for what was right. She supported many, many people. That’s something that stands out from the numerous tributes – which speak for themselves.

I know I speak for everyone that knew Jenny in sending our love and sincere condolences to her husband Matt, her sons and all her many loved ones.

Cllr Stephen Cowan

Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council

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