Where was my fa­ther poi­soned?

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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 jan@na­tion­alas­bestos.co.uk. 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

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