As there were no events in this part of the world, I am using this opportunity to raise awareness by reproducing an article by Laurie Kazan- Allan which documents the Female Face of Britain's Asbestos Catastrophe. It's a real eye opener, which ends on a high with Debbie in Plymouth, one of our Meso Warriors. Please read!
Nellie Kershaw – The First Named Victim of Asbestos Disease, 1924
Nora Dockerty –The First Successful British Asbestos Claimant, 1952
Nancy Tait – Founder of the World's First Asbestos Victims' Group, 1978
Alice Jefferson –The Focus of Landmark TV Documentary, 1982
At age 17, Alice Jefferson (born 1935) went to work at the Cape Asbestos factory in Acre Mill, Yorkshire; the three months she spent working in clouds of asbestos dust were all that were needed to cause the mesothelioma which took her life three decades later. Like Nellie Kershaw and Nora Dockerty she died way before her time leaving behind her son Paul 15 and daughter Patsy 5, her husband and grieving family members. In 1982 Alice was the focus of a landmark documentary that was broadcast on prime time mainstream TV; it was watched by nearly 6 million viewers. Explaining the contribution made by Alice to the program, industrial historian Geoffrey Tweedale wrote:
June Hancock – The First Successful Environmental Claimant, 1995
June Hancock (born 1936) grew up in the shadow of an asbestos factory in the town of Armley, West Yorkshire. After losing her mother Maie Gelder to mesothelioma in 1982, June came face to face with the nightmare once more when she too was diagnosed with mesothelioma (1993). Neither she nor her mother had worked with asbestos.7June knew how the disease would progress; she knew that everyday tasks would become increasingly arduous and simple pleasures unobtainable; she chose to fight back. Her opponent, J. W. Roberts Ltd. (JWR), had been operating from the Armley site since 1895. In 1920, it had become a subsidiary of Turner & Newall (T&N) Limited. So, by suing JWR, June was in reality suing T&N. In 1995, T&N's 40,000 employees generated a £2 billion turnover at two hundred installations in twenty-four countries; the company wasn't about to give in easily. Undaunted, June instructed a solicitor shortly after she was diagnosed; a writ was issued on September 5, 1994.
Gina Lees – A Symbol of Britain's Third Wave of Asbestos Deaths, 2000
Debbie Brewer – 21st Century Warrior, 2012