Playwright Alan Bennett remembers his roots

June 1, 2011

Author and playwright Alan Bennett grew up in the streets of Armley at the same time as June Hancock; there were just two years between them. He has paid tribute to June’s court battle with local asbestos factory owners Turner and Newell in a foreword to a new book of memoirs by Pauline Brearley.

Acknowledging June’s great achievement in spite of being gravely ill, he writes: “Those of the calibre of June Hancock are heroes.”

Pauline’s husband Colin died from mesothelioma in 2006 aged 73, shortly after his retirement, prompting her to collect and publish the family memoirs, as “The history of a branch of the Davidson family tree.” All profits from the sales are donated to the Fund.

Pauline ends her book with a similarly powerful quotation from Scottish author and reformer Samuel Smiles;

“Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success; for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles”.

Pauline hopes this book will help to spread the perils of asbestos to a wider public following the comprehensive description of its consequences on family life. She also campaigns and fundraises locally for the Fund.

The book costs £15; for a copy call 0113 266 0922 or email