Asbestos victim’s fight for justice22 September 2009
Fatal asbestos cancer mesothelioma
A North East asbestos victim has backed the trade unions in their campaign for the right to compensation for thousands of pleural plaques sufferers.
Alan Clark from Hartlepool sadly died from the fatal asbestos cancer mesothelioma in August, but before his death he left a lasting legacy in a video calling for the Government to restore compensation to pleural plaques sufferers.
Alan’s interview was used by trade unions to produce a video called ‘Hope’ which was shown at the TUC conference this week.
The video outlines the reasons why unions are calling for compensation for pleural plaques sufferers to be reinstated after it was ended by the House of Lords in 2007.
Please click on the 'Play' button in the middle of the screen below to view the ‘Hope’ video.
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Announcement on pleural plaques compensation
The Prime Minister said an announcement on pleural plaques compensation will be made when Parliament resumes in the autumn.
Alan was diagnosed with pleural plaques nine years ago after many years of working with asbestos as a thermal insulation engineer (lagger) on various industrial sites in Teesside.
He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in early 2009 and died just months later.
Before his death he talked candidly about his exposure to asbestos while working as a lagger and how his father had also died from mesothelioma. In the video Alan tells how the pleural plaques campaign is an important fight for justice.
Before he died he said: “When I was diagnosed with pleural plaques I panicked. It felt like my death certificate had been signed and I knew it would only be a matter of time before I was told I had mesothelioma. I worried about it ever since.
“I never expected to get cancer so quickly. I thought I had decades left. I am living proof that pleural plaques can lead to mesothelioma and I want the government to take what has happened to me into consideration. Pleural plaques sufferers should be compensated for the damage to their lungs and the worry of the death sentence hanging over them. They should receive that compensation quickly.”
Video symbolises the trade union campaign for justice for asbestos victims
Regional Secretary of the GMB, Tom Brennan said: “This moving video symbolises the trade union campaign for justice for asbestos victims. Alan’s story is heart wrenching. Tragically, far too many of our members have suffered in the same way. His tale is a reminder of what the fight for compensation is about and we will not back down until we have justice.”
Alan Clark’s family is represented by Thompsons Solicitors. Ian McFall, head of asbestos policy at Thompsons said: “Despite enduring the pain of his terminal illness and being acutely aware of his impending death Alan was determined to speak out in support of the unions’ campaign. His family agreed that the video should be used to help other asbestos victims, which is exactly what Alan wanted.
“With backing from the trade unions I hope Alan’s dying wishes will not be in vain and will serve as a powerful reminder to Government that the rights of pleural plaques sufferers must be restored.”
This news story was also published by Hartlepool Mail.
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