Fantastic asbestos support groups

February 4, 2012

A fantastic network of asbestos support groups across the UK is providing support and advice to hundreds of people with mesothelioma and their families. They help people navigate their way through the complex benefits structures, advise on paths to compensation and share experience about medical care.

Located predominantly in ‘hotspots’ of asbestos exposure associated with industrial use in factories, dockyards and railways, many of them also campaign and fundraise.

Hampshire Asbestos Support & Awareness Group is one of the most active, with regular events drawing attendees right across the south of England, from Kent to Wiltshire. Set up in October 2006 by Diane Salisbury and Lynne Squibb following the death of their father David, who was exposed to asbestos in his job on the railways, HASAG has raised more than £55,000 and is now a registered charity.

The group’s tireless fundraising is mainly directed on research, but they also buy equipment for local hospices and hospitals.

In January, JHMRF trustee Vanessa Bridge attended a coffee morning in Portsmouth to meet HASAG supporters, talk about the work of our Fund and to accept a donation of £10,000.

Hayley Barnes lost her husband Neil to mesothelioma at the age of 42, leaving her 11-year-old son Joseph without a father; his mother Sue Barnes is also a regular at HASAG meetings. Neil was exposed to asbestos at the age of 17, when he was employed to rip out asbestos sheeting from Brighton power station without any protection. Said Hayley: “I’m fighting for the Joseph, and the life he would have had if his father had lived.”

Other widows of former dockyard workers, some of whom had only a few years industrial exposure, said they were angry the government had never provided a proper apology for the suffering of former employees and their families.

HASAG has donated a magnificent £27,697 since 2008 to our Fund, for which we are very grateful.