Words from Alan Bennett
“June Hancock was from Armley in Leeds where the dust from the local asbestos factory of JW Roberts led directly to the deaths of many local people from mesothelioma.
“Throughout my childhood my father was the manager of the Co-op butchers on Armley Lodge Road just above the Roberts factory. Thankfully he never contracted the disease but would have known people who did… the women who washed their husbands’ dirty overalls, the children who played among the sacks of dust outside the factory.
“Dying of mesothelioma herself, Mrs Hancock took the multinational company of Turner and Newall to court and, despite the delaying tactics of the company, in a landmark judgement she won her case for compensation just before she died. It was in a Leeds court and before a Leeds judge and it’s something the city should be proud of. With the growing power of the great corporations and conglomerates justice in such and similar cases is going to be harder and harder to come by. Those of the calibre of June Hancock are heroes.”