Remembering All Those Affected By Mesothelioma
In Albert Square in front of the town hall a Manchester crowd gathered to remember all those affected by mesothelioma, and to campaign for better protection of workers against the risks of asbestos. The public meeting was organised by the Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group (GMAVSG) to mark Action Mesothelioma Day on 27 February. Sufferers of mesothelioma gathered together with campaigners, support workers, and families who had lost relatives to mesothelioma. More than £8,000 had been raised by a sponsored balloon release.
The meeting was opened by a group of ten or more widows who had each lost their husbands to mesothelioma holding up pictures of their late husbands. They were part of the Manchester Mesothelioma Action Group which offers support to those bereaved through mesothelioma, raises awareness of the risks of asbestos and campaigns for more research into the disease. They invited others to join them in their campaign and thanked Tony Whitston and Hazel Bowden of GMAVSG for their tireless work supporting mesothelioma sufferers and the bereaved.
Union representatives spoke at the meeting about the workers who are still being exposed to asbestos today, and how much ignorance remains about the risks to workers in the construction industry. On one day in February last year out of 11 sites inspected by the Health and Safety Executive 10 were found to be so dangerous that the building works were shut down by the HSE.
Michael Lees, who lost his wife Gina to mesothelioma, spoke about the dangers to schoolchildren and teachers posed by asbestos in school buildings. He called for more steps to be taken to protect children and teachers from asbestos and showed an ITN news report that had aired for the first time last week showing that children were being exposed to levels of asbestos that were unsafe in their school buildings from asbestos insulation, asbestos boards and asbestos ceiling tiles.
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