June Hancock grew up in Armley and attended the local school. She was one of many children who played amongst the asbestos dust in both the school playground and the loading bay of the factory. The children would throw asbestos ‘snowballs’ at one another and played hopscotch on pavements covered in the blue asbestos dust.
June’s mother had been diagnosed with mesothelioma and died in 1982 from the terrible disease. It was only when June herself, was diagnosed in 1994 that she decided to take action against Turner & Newall (T&N Plc) , the parent company of JW Roberts, and seek justice for her mother and many others affected through the negligence of the company.
June Hancock was a unique woman. As well as being an exceptional and loving mother to her children, she was a gentle, dignified, hard-working and selfless lady who always put her family first.
When she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1994, her first thoughts were that this was one death too many in the family… for her own mother, Maie, had died of the same disease in 1982.
The only known cause of this incurable cancer of the chest is exposure to asbestos earlier in life, and as a child growing up in Armley, Leeds, June had innocently played amongst the deadly dust billowing out of the JW Roberts asbestos factory.
June decided to fight for justice and so instructed a legal team to take the company responsible for her illness to Court. This was the first case brought by a mesothelioma sufferer who had not worked with asbestos.
June secured a landmark victory in 1995, paving the way for others to seek justice…..how typical of June. And to do all this whilst suffering from this painful and debilitating disease tells you something about her determination and strength.
June sadly died on July 19th 1997.
This is not the end of the story. June’s resolve to see justice prevail helped to raise public awareness of the asbestos contamination in this country. She touched the hearts of everyone who came to know her during her illness, and this led to the setting up of the ‘June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund’.