Asbestos victims remembered at annual Glasgow memorial service

Families of Scots who have died from asbestos-related conditions have remembered their loved ones at a special memorial. The event, which is held every year on July 1, was organised by Glasgow-based Clydeside Action on Asbestos.

Charity chairwoman Phyllis Craig, MBE, was one of the organisers of this year’s memorial at the Provand’s Lordship memorial garden on Castle Street. She said:

“Each year we hold a memorial but this year’s event has a special significance as it is being held on Action Mesothelioma Day. Each year, the numbers attending our memorial increases…all of whom have lost a partner, a mother or father, a close relative or a friend.

We must remember them and send a strong message that the legacy of extensive use of asbestos in the UK continues to blight our communities. This is not something that belongs in the past or that can be ignored.

We will not allow it to be ignored, and events like this not only help to raise awareness of the damage caused by asbestos, but provide a place where people can come together, support each other and share some time with others who have also experienced loss.”

John Curran lost his father to mesothelioma in 2013, and travelled with nine relatives from Ayrshire to attend the service. He said:

“My dad was only 66 when he died, and he left us too early. Our family have been robbed of our life with him and he is sorely missed. We can go to his grave every day to remember, but we go to the memorial honour him.

“My father and thousands of others died because they went to work and was not given any protection or warning about just how dangerous asbestos was. Our family cannot forget, and our country should not forget. The memorial means a lot to our family because it allows us to honour not just my father, but everyone who has lost their life to asbestos.”

Councillor Nina Baker has spoken to families who have been affected by an asbestos related disease and supports the need for an annual memorial. She said more people “are being diagnosed than ever before”. She added:

“We have a duty to stop on this important day to remember those who have died from an illness that could have been avoided if employers had acted in the interests of their employees rather than in the interests of their business. It is a powerful reminder of the damage that can be caused if profit is put before people.”

Jan Devlin, Macmillan Mesothelioma Specialist Nurse [supported by Mesothelioma UK], at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth hospital added:

“As the only Mesothelioma Clinical Nurse Specialist in Scotland, I see daily the impact that a diagnosis of mesothelioma has on the person with the condition and on their family.

My priority is to ensure that support and information is available from diagnosis onwards. Clydeside Action on Asbestos provide a unique source of support and advice to the person following diagnosis, and the memorial is a much needed way of continuing that support once someone has died.”