9:30am Saturday 7th July 2012
By Josh Layton
BALLOONS were released into the sky yesterday at an event to remember the thousands of victims of the Swindon Disease.
A number of activities in Bristol, attended by people from Swindon and across the south west, were held for Action Mesothelioma Day.
Bristol and Beyond Asbestos Family Support brought together families affected by asbestos-related illnesses for the occasion.
In Swindon, Brigitte Chandler, of law firm Charles, Lucas And Marshall, spoke of the need to raise awareness, “It’s important to mark this day because people in Swindon are consistently developing problems as a result of exposure they may have forgotten about,” she said.
“It’s important to be vigilant and to remind people that great care needs to be taken if they do come across asbestos.
“It will be many more years before we do see an end to the cases we have now because of the long length of time it takes for people to become ill.
“We will be dealing with this for some time to come.”
Pat Lewis, of the Swindon and South West Abestos Group, lost her husband Ray to an asbestos-related illness in August 2007.
She said: “A day like this is not easy as it brings it all back to you.
“A lot of people don’t want to talk about it as they find it too painful.
“We are basically a social group which welcomes people in and supports them, whether they be widows or people with asbestos-related diseases.
“The legal process can also be a very hard, and long drawn-out process.
“But we provide a setting for people to talk to other people who may be going through the same things.”
Action Mesothelioma Day is a national event aimed at promoting awareness of the ongoing dangers of asbestos.
Mesothelioma is referred to as the Swindon Disease because of the high numbers of former railway works employees who have contracted an asbestos-related disease from working with the material.
The balloon release was organised by Bristol And Beyond Asbestos, which can be contacted on 0117 394 5009.
The Swindon-based group can be contacted on telephone number 01793 532995.
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