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Dr Hywel Francis 1946 – 2021

February 14th 2021

The Bevan Foundation pays tribute to Dr Hywel Francis, a founding trustee of the Foundation, on his death.

The Bevan Foundation is deeply saddened at the death of Dr Hywel Francis. Hywel was the driving force behind the creation of the Bevan Foundation almost exactly 20 years ago, and served as a trustee and Vice Chair until he stood down in 2012.

Hywel, along with the other founding Trustees, wanted to establish an independent think tank to be a source of ideas and inspiration for the Welsh Assembly, then in its infancy and still very much following the Westminster agenda. He brought together a small team, raised some modest funds and the Bevan Foundation was launched, with a send-off by the then Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams, in March 2001.

Hywel went on to steer the Bevan Foundation through its early years, some of which were pretty challenging. Hywel was no businessman, but his vision and practical ideas helped the Foundation to win through and make its mark. We were especially proud to host and publish his annual lecture in 2005 on his work with carers, but Hywel was also behind the charity’s early work on the South Wales valleys, on migrant workers in Neath Port Talbot and the Upper Afan Valley to name but a few.

Hywel brought the same ‘broad church’ approach to the Bevan Foundation that he had shown as a key figure in the Wales Congress in Support of Mining Communities.  His paramount interest was in working people, and he was happy to build alliances across many political divides, bringing together not just different parties but different LGBT groups, unions and women’s groups too. Hywel’s work, and groups such as the Wales Congress, are widely seen as paving the way for devolution.

Even though he stood down as a Trustee of the Bevan Foundation in 2012, he continued to be a staunch supporter, for example hosting the Bevan Prize for Health and Well-being for several years.  We like to think that he was proud of our recent achievements.  It is no exaggeration to say that the Bevan Foundation would not be here without Hywel’s vision and energy.  We are deeply saddened that we will not mark our 20th birthday with him.

The Bevan Foundation, the Assembly and indeed the people of Wales owe Hywel a deep debt.


One Response to “Dr Hywel Francis 1946 – 2021”

  1. June Evans says:

    It is with sadness that I hear of the passing of Dr Hywel Francis.
    He was indeed all that you say in your report. A kind and thoughtful man who had time for us all in his busy life. His legacy is great and the Bevan Foundation is a proud part of that legacy of which I was pleased to be a very small part. My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

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