Where was my father poisoned?
Abigail O’Leary replaced by the cancerous tumour which surrounded his heart and made breathing increasingly difficult. George, from Dukinfield, was also forced to live on morphine, to help manage the agonising pain.
Now, George’s son Paul, is fighting for justice in the name of his father and is asking former British Rail workers if they have information about the use of asbestos in railway carriages and signal boxes in Ashton-under-Lyne, Denton, Stalybridge and Dukinfield between 1949 and 1989.
Paul said: “It’s a terrible cancer that cut short my dad’s retirement after a lifetime of service to the rail industry.
“By the end, his right lung had been replaced by the tumour and had encased his heart. He could hardly breathe and was on morphine for the pain.”
And with the help of the National Asbestos Helpline, Paul is hoping other sufferers can also see justice done.
Paul added: “We’re hoping that someone who remembers the working conditions on the railways and possibly remembers George Battersby to come forward to help.
“We know that many former British Rail workers will also be suffering with the asbestos-related illness and will want justice too.”
Many young apprentices were given the job of spraying entire train carriages with asbestos in order to fire proof and insulate them, as well as cleaning up asbestos dust at the end of the working day.
And with British Rail not introducing protective clothing until the 1980s, thousands of young men were already being poisoned by the toxic fumes.
George, from Dukinfield, worked on the rails as a chain boy working for carriage and wagon works, and could also have been exposed to asbestos during his time as a signal man on the Greater Manchester Railways.
Anyone with information about the use of asbestos in signal boxes in Ashton-under-Lyne, Den- ton, Stalybridge and Dukinfield between 1949 and 1989, should contact Jan Garvey at the National Asbestos Helpline on freephone 0800 043 6635 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your details will remain confidential. Don’t miss your free seven-day TV guide, every Saturday in the M.E.N.
●● George Battersby, died in 2012, aged 78 after suffering from mesothelioma caused by asbestos