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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Ceremony pays tribute to mark Mesothelioma Day

A CEREMONY paid tribute to people who have been affected by asbestos-related diseases.

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TRIBUTE: Furness St Mary’s Hospice support team members Mo kirk (left) and Olive Copson with Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock – assisting Mayor of Barrow, Cllr Rory McClure, to lay a wreath at Barrow town hall, to mark Mesothelioma Day JON GRANGER REF: 50007689B000

St Mary’s Hospice and Barrow Asbestos Related Disease Support (BARDS) held an awareness day to mark the worldwide Action Mesothelioma Day on Friday.

Members of BARDS and representatives from legal teams, trade unions and other organisations were on hand to offer advice in The Forum, in Duke Street, Barrow, throughout the day.

Barrow businessman Rick Lucas, who became an A1 Assessor in Construction after studying for a foundation degree at Furness College, also had a display at the event.

The stall was his bid to raise awareness of the modern threat of asbestos and how businessmen can educate their employees.

The event was part of a British Lung Foundation campaign for people diagnosed with mesothelioma, a terminal chest cancer which develops 15 to 60 years after exposure to asbestos.

Last year, figures showed 197 people in Barrow, 42 people in Copeland and 59 people in South Lakeland have died from mesothelioma since 1981.

At a special ceremony, Barrow mayor, Councillor Rory McClure, and Furness MP John Woodcock laid a wreath in remembrance of people who have died from mesothelioma in the gardens of Barrow Town Hall.

Maureen Kirk, St Mary’s Hospice and BARDS co-ordinator, said: “The day is about mesothelioma. It has touched the lives of many, many people here in Barrow.

“We are very fortunate that we have specialist solicitors to offer advice, trade unions which are very active in health and safety campaigns, nursing care at the hospice, complimentary therapy and bereavement support and all of those people behind the scenes. We have a number of volunteers who make a huge difference, whether it’s lending an ear or making a cup of tea.”

Mr Woodcock said: “Mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases such as pleural plaques are embedded in the history of Barrow and the Furness area.

“We have a duty as a community of caring people and government to do right by the people who have suffered and continue to suffer from this dreadful disease.”

Bob Pointer, secretary of the Barrow Trades’ Council and a member of BARDS, said: “The day has gone well, a few people have approached and asked questions, but still not a lot of people know the dangers of asbestos. We need publicity to let younger generations know.”

Julie Clark, of Walney, lost her mother Maureen Mawson to mesothelioma in March this year.

Mrs Clark said: “My mum beat cancer twice in her life, but then she was diagnosed with mesothelioma and we were told there is just no cure. She got it from washing my dad’s overalls – he was a boilerman and he was surrounded by asbestos. He used to come home with it all over his overalls and in those days you had to shake them with the old-fashioned way of washing.

“We went to BARDS and they gave us some courage.”

Mrs Clark and her brother David Howson presented a cheque for £1,000 to St Mary’s Hospice, based in Ulverston, at the ceremony.

Mr Howson said: “We just wanted to give something back to the hospice for the care our mum received.”

Jennifer Culley, BARDS nurse at St Mary’s Hospice, said: “I would like to thank everybody who came along to show their support.”

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