Amanda Kopel burst into tears on discovering she had topped Courier Impact 100. Gayle Ritchie speaks to the delighted Frank’s Law campaigner.
Amanda Kopel is celebrating a further triumph after clinching The Courier’s 2017 Impact 100 list.
The Frank’s Law campaigner topped the table at number one in our countdown of those who have made the biggest impression in the past 12 months.
On hearing she had topped Impact 100 2017, Amanda said she was “on cloud nine”.
“A friend phoned me at 7am yesterday morning and asked, ‘Have you seen The Courier?’” she said.
“I was still in bed, half asleep, so no, I hadn’t! When she told me I was at number one, I burst into tears – of joy, of course!
“And I know Frankie would’ve had a big smile on his face, too.”
When her husband Frank – a former Dundee United football legend – was diagnosed with dementia in 2009, Amanda became aware of a flaw in the care system.
Frank was only eligible for free personal care after he turned 65, which forced the couple to spend huge sums of money for six months of his illness.
Since his diagnosis, Amanda, 67, from Kirriemuir, has campaigned tirelessly for Frank’s Law – a law to extend free personal care to under-65s with degenerative conditions.
This eventually paid off in September this year, when she was told Frank’s Law would come into force in April 2019, benefitting at least 9,000 people.
However, when she learned the Scottish Government planned to introduce the legislation in 2019, she vowed to have it brought forward to 2018.
Amanda said she had “no idea” she was being considered for Impact 100 2017, never mind taking the top spot.
“I’ve been on the Impact 100 list the past two years but I never thought I’d ever be at number one – it’s a real shock!
“Every time something like this happens, I think of Frankie. I just want him to give me a big cuddle.
“He’s the one who deserves this. He fought with strength, dignity and courage.
“If that horrible disease hadn’t come to our doorstep, we would’ve been enjoying life together.”
On Frank’s Law not being introduced until 2019, Amanda said she was “disappointed and frustrated”.
“There’s no reason it can’t be brought forward,” she said.
“People need help now; a lot of them won’t be around in 2019. I’m not prepared to say, ‘hang an another 18 months’ because that’s cruel.
“In 2018, the battle will continue. Frank’s Law is feasible and affordable in 2018. The fight will go on.”
At number two on this year’s Impact 100 is the team behind the engineering triumph that is the Queensferry Crossing, and at number three is racehorse trainer Lucinda Cameron.
Dundee business leader Chris van der Kuyl has the fourth spot, while Sara and Steven Edwards – the campaigning parents of tragic Coupar Angus tot Harlow Edwards – are at number five.
Amanda joins the list of previous winners, which includes Lorraine Kelly, the Murray brothers Andy and Jamie, Gordon Brown and the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail team.