Michael Howard recalls father's death from breast cancer

Former Conservative leader and Home Secretary Michael Howard has talked at length for the first time about the impact on his family of his father's death from breast cancer at the age of 49.

Now in the House of Lords, he's been interviewed for a documentary, Finding Blue in the Pink. It's been released by the Men Have It Too campaign.

Bernard Howard was a prominent Llanelli businessman, who owned three shops in the town. When he received his cancer diagnosis in 1966, he was told there was no hope of successful treatment for the disease.

Bernard and Michael Howard in the early 1960s
Michael Howard's parents Bernard and Hilda. On the right is his aunt, Rosie, who had survived Auschwitz.

The family were no strangers to tragedy, as Bernard Howard's mother and several other relatives were murdered in the Holocaust. He was born in 1916 into a Jewish family in Ruscova, a village that was transferred from Hungary to Romania after the First World War.

Bernard Howard arrived in Britain as Bernat Hecht in 1937, to take up a post in a London synagogue. He moved to Llanelli to marry his wife, whose family were in the clothing business. His sister, who'd survived Auschwitz, joined him in Wales after the Second World War.

The Howards advertised their expanding business in the Llanelli Star

In the documentary, Michael Howard says his father "was the greatest influence on my early life and I loved him deeply. I even miss him today, more than 50 years after his death". The Northampton University journalism student who interviewed Lord Howard was struck by the strength of his emotions.