Thousands of men and women who lost their lives to asbestos-related disease were remembered today. A special memorial was held in Johnston Gardens in Aberdeen to remember those who have died and remember the families and friends who have lost a loved one. Clydeside Action on Asbestos Aberdeen, who organise the memorial, have provided a local advice and support service in Aberdeen for over ten years.
Dominic Pritchard GMB convener stated:
It is extremely important that we recognise the lives that have been lost in Aberdeen, and of course, throughout the world, because of asbestos exposure. Having a charity that operates in Aberdeen which provides advice and support to those who live with an asbestos-related illness is so important. Through the efforts of Clydeside Action on Asbestos Aberdeen and GMB Scotland, those who have lost their lives will never be forgotten. It is an honour for GMB Scotland to lay our wreath in memory of these men and women who lost their lives through the negligence of others.
Asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma continue to kill around 5000 people in the UK each year. Thousands more live with asbestosis, pleural thickening and pleural plaques. We want to ensure that every person in Aberdeen that has an asbestos-related condition is supported. For those with a terminal illness, navigating benefits alone when trying to come to terms with being terminally ill, is extremely difficult and frustrating. We can take the stress of this away from the family by visiting them at home to give advice, fill in forms and help in any way we can. Our charity will fight for those who have died and continue to die from an asbestos condition.
Tommy Campbell, Regional Officer at Unite who will also be attending the service:
I am deeply honoured to be laying a wreath at this significant event. It is a stark reminder to us all that the use of asbestos continues to devastate lives. I know how valuable the service that CAA Aberdeen provides is and am grateful that they are here for the people of Aberdeen who have been affected by this deadly legacy. Unite the union will never forget those who have died from asbestos exposure and will continue to fight for those who are still alive.
Locals Ian and Olive Emslie will be laying a wreath on behalf of CAA Aberdeen. Mr Emslie has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and regularly attends the CAA support groups in Aberdeen. He added:
The support group is a great way to connect with people and realise that you are not alone. The groups are positive and informative and my wife and I really enjoy going along. We have lost countless group members over the years to asbestos-related disease and having a memorial gives us the opportunity to remember them.
Although people with an asbestos-related disease are entitled to pursue compensation, for those who have a terminal asbestos-related illness, the compensation case does not always settle before the person dies. Laura Blane of Thompsons Solicitors:
I frequently deal with grieving families and see their loss and devastation. Although a civil case for compensation can continue after a person has died, this can be extremely upsetting for family members. Having the additional support from CAA Aberdeen and having this memorial means a great deal to the families that I come into contact with.
CAA Aberdeen can be contacted on 0800 089 1717.