Event raises awareness of asbestos-related disease prevalent in Kent and Medway area
An action day held on 6 July to commemorate victims of mesothelioma has received strong support from professionals, campaigners and victims, as Medway remains one of the areas worst affected by the disease.
Organised by leading law firm Brachers, Alan McKenna of the University of Kent and the London Asbestos Support Awareness Group (LASAG), the event was held at the Chatham Dockyard and supports Action Mesothelioma Day, an annual nationwide event that seeks to raise awareness and promote discussion around the deadly asbestos related cancer. The occasion and venue were particularly pertinent given the links between the historic use of asbestos at the dockyards and the incidence rates of cancer in Medway, which statistics show are some of the highest in the country.
Guests observed a commemorative dove release led by campaigners Mavis and Ray Nye and Marie and Jason Hoadley, followed by a panel discussion regarding the past, present and future of mesothelioma, with speakers including Professor Karen Cox the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kent, Louise Gilham, Mesothelioma UK’s specialist nurse for Kent, John Reeves from the National Union of Teachers, Mavis Nye a mesothelioma victim and campaigner, Professor Bill Cookson from the National Mesothelioma Research Centre, Dr Tuck-Kay Loke a Consultant Respiratory Physician and Jeremy Horton, Partner at Brachers.
Brachers has established a reputation for helping victims of industrial diseases such as mesothelioma to make their claims, on a ‘no win-no fee’ basis. Brachers is the only firm in Kent, Surrey or Sussex with an APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) Accredited Occupational Disease Specialist and an APIL Accredited Asbestos Disease Specialist solicitor.
Government figures on national mesothelioma deaths show that the Medway area remains in the top 10 for the incidence of deaths from mesothelioma. The high incidence of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease can clearly be linked to the heavy use of asbestos at Chatham dockyards in ship building and repair, and exposure at other sites such as BP’s Isle of Grain oil refinery and the asbestos manufacturing factory at British Uralite Higham, just on the edge of the Medway Towns, as well as many building trades.
Jeremy Horton, partner at Brachers specialising in industrial diseases, said: “Our thanks go to everyone that came today. Mesothelioma is a cruel disease that has affected so many people in Kent and Medway and it is currently not expected that numbers will peak until 2020-2025. However, there is a lot of fantastic work going on to increase awareness and campaign for improved research and support, which is very positive. We will show our continued support to the cause and are committed to helping victims of the disease get the compensation they deserve.”