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Kate Garraway speaks out on £800k care debt for late husband Derek Draper

Kate Garraway has spoken out about the large debt she faces following the long-term care of her late husband Derek Draper.

The Good Morning Britain anchor took on significant care duties when Draper became seriously ill with Covid in March 2020. After spending nearly 100 days in a coma, the former Labour lobbyist and psychotherapist remained in need of constant care for the rest of his life, from professionals and from Garraway.

He died in January, aged 56, and is survived by Garraway, also 56, and their children: Darcey, 18, and 14-year-old Billy.

Kate Garraway, with her husband Derek Draper and her parents Gordon and Marilyn Garraway. (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Archive)
Kate Garraway, with her husband Derek Draper and her parents Gordon and Marilyn Garraway. (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Archive)

In a new interview with The Times, Garraway shared some insight into her last interactions with Draper and noted that his health seemed to be improving.

“We were in a very different place, health-wise, from the year before – and it felt like the happiest place,” she said.

“We had more of Derek back. We always knew his injuries could take him, but it all felt so positive at that point, it was the furthest from my mind that anything could happen.”

However, Draper suffered a cardiac arrest while staying at a brain cell clinic in Mexico as Garraway was mid-flight to collect him. Though doctors were able to restart his heart, Draper never regained consciousness and “slipped away” on 3 January.

Kate Garraway in ‘Derek’s Story’ (ITV / Flicker Productions)
Kate Garraway in ‘Derek’s Story’ (ITV / Flicker Productions)

On Tuesday, the third of Garraway’s films about her late husband, titled Derek’s Story, will air on ITV1. Shot in the final year of Draper’s life, the film will delve deeper into his experiences, as well as highlight the costs of caring for a loved one.

Despite needing round-the-clock care, Draper was not eligible for funding, which left Garraway to incur debts to ensure he had the help he needed.

The interview said that Garraway estimates the care debt to be between £500,000 and £800,000.

“It’s supposed to be a system that’s meant to catch you if you fall,” she says. “But actually, it feels like it’s trying to catch you out. You feel like you’re in the dock answering questions about things that will literally mean life or death to someone you love.

“Derek’s needs were clearly so great, yet he didn’t warrant funded care — so you think, ‘If he isn’t getting it, then who is?’”

Kate Garraway is campaigning for greater assistance for carers (Getty Images)
Kate Garraway is campaigning for greater assistance for carers (Getty Images)

As well as the film being a vehicle for Draper to “be heard” as he’d wanted, Garraway said that she went ahead with completing the documentary after his death as a way to honour the wishes of the thousands of carers who have asked her to continue campaigning for change.

“I can’t just abandon this because Derek no longer needs it,” she said. “We have to all understand that this level of abandonment of care is coming for us all, or for someone we love, unless we make it our priority. Because, flipping heck, when you’re in it and you need it, it’s the only thing that counts.”

Kate Garraway: Derek’s Story will air on ITV1 and ITVX on Tuesday 26 March at 9pm.