Granddad dies 40 years after asbestos exposure

PUBLISHED: 12:11 29 November 2010 | UPDATED: 13:27 29 November 2010

Coroner's Court

Coroner's Court

Copyright Archant Ltd

AN ACTIVE granddad and parish councillor died after being exposed to asbestos more than 40 years ago, an inquest heard.

Graham Lockyer, of Bleadon, came into contact with the lethal substance while training as an engineer in the late 1960s, Flax Bourton Coroner’s Court was told.

The 62-year-old father-of-two, who was a Bleadon parish councillor, was fit and healthy up until he developed a wheezy cough in January this year.

After many tests and meetings with consultants it was discovered the retired chartered engineer had a tumour in his chest which was thought to be related to his exposure to asbestos. He was told that chemotherapy may help reduce the growth but he died at Weston Hospice on May 21.

In a statement from Weston GP Simon Smith, he explained how after an x-ray an underlying mass was found so he was referred directly to the accident and emergency department to drain fluid from his chest.

In a statement read to coroner Maria Voisin, his wife Elizabeth said her husband had been exposed to ‘blue asbestos’ while undergoing a practical part of a four year mechanical engineering degree course at West Burton Power Station in 1966.

Mrs Lockyer, a retired secretary, said: “The power station was in the process of being commissioned and as apprentices they were given all the dirty jobs to do which included sweeping up the asbestos.

“I also believe the turbines were insulated with the asbestos which was baked.”

She said her husband lived a ‘healthy lifestyle’ and enjoyed tending to the grounds and exterior of their home and was looking forward to beginning decorating the inside of the house.

She added: “One of his favourite past times was walking and of course being an active grandfather.”

Ms Voisin recorded a verdict of death by industrial disease.

Chairman of Bleadon Parish council, Penny Skelley, said: “Over the time that Graham served with the council he did so with great intelligence and much strategic thinking.

“With his help and acumen he extended our forward thinking and pro-activeness as a council. He will be sorely missed by us all. He was a true and loyal friend to our community.”

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