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Frank Kopel's widow 'over the moon' as new law approved

Amanda Kopel has campaigned to extend free personal care to under-65s with degenerative conditions.

Campaign: Mrs Kopel with husband Frank.
Campaign: Mrs Kopel with husband Frank.

Frank's Law campaigner Amanda Kopel is "over the moon" after it was announced at least 9000 Scots could benefit from a change in the law on personal care.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced free personal care will be extended to under-65s with degenerative conditions as part of the Programme for Government on Tuesday.

Mrs Kopel has pushed for the change in care provision since her husband, former Dundee United player Frank Kopel, was diagnosed with early onset dementia when he was 59.

He died on April 16, 2014, at the age of 65.

She said: "I was blown away, absolutely over the moon. There are no words in the dictionary that explain how I felt on Tuesday when I heard the First Minister announce that they were going to deliver Frank's Law.

"I just started sobbing, turned to a photograph of Frankie and, to be honest, I never heard the rest of the First Minister's speech.

"These were words which for 51 months Frank and I had hoped and prayed that we would hear coming out of the chamber at Holyrood."

She added: "A big, big moment not just for me, not just for Frankie, but for all the under-65s in Scotland who have been living in hope for these words to have been spoken."

'There are no words in the dictionary that explain how I felt on Tuesday when I heard the First Minister announce that they were going to deliver Frank's Law.'
Amanda Kopel

Known as Frank's Law, the policy will take effect by April 2019 and is expected to benefit at least 9000 people living in Scotland.

On Thursday, health secretary Shona Robison visited Mrs Kopel to congratulate her on the success of her campaign.

She said: "Amanda's been absolutely amazing. She's a very inspiring, tenacious lady and it's been a great opportunity for me to personally thank her.

"I've had a lot of contact with Amanda over the years around Frank's Law. It's been a great moment to thank her personally and to pay tribute to her role in making all of this happen."

Mr Kopel was diagnosed with dementia aged 59, with his wife paying £1200 a month for care until he died aged 65 in 2014, just weeks after he qualified for free personal care.

Their home in Kirriemuir, Angus, is filled with family pictures and portraits of the former footballer.

Mrs Kopel is working on setting up the Frank Kopel Foundation in memory of her late husband but after years campaigning she is first looking forward to a break.

She added: "Frank was a defender and never scored many goals. But he scored the match winner against Anderlecht in the UEFA cup and now I know how he felt."

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