Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group (GMAVSG) is a registered charity (1113201).

We offer free and independent advice on benefits and compensation to people with asbestos-related diseases and their families.

We also campaign for better funding for medical research and treatment, fairer benefits and compensation, the removal of asbestos from the places where we work and live, and an international ban on asbestos.

As a small charity, we rely on donations to carry on the work we do. To donate to us, please click here.

Landmark Victory in the High Court for Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK (the Forum) have won a case in the High Court for disclosure of historic documents that could reveal that industry and Government agencies knew far more about the dangers of asbestos products than they revealed.

In February 2017 a 6 week long case concluded in the Royal Courts of Justice between insurance companies, who had previously paid compensation to dying mesothelioma victims, and Cape Distribution Limited and subsidiary companies. The insurers argued that Cape should share the costs of compensation as it was their products that had caused the diseases, and because Cape knew more about the dangers of their products than they had disclosed.

During the course of this case, the Cape companies were ordered to disclose thousands of documents which showed what they knew about the dangers of exposure to asbestos. Both sides made a confidential agreement to destroy these documents at the end of the trial. On hearing this, the Forum instructed Harminder Bains of Leigh Day to apply to the Court to preserve the documents, which Master McCloud granted in April.

At a 3 day hearing in the High Court in October, Counsel for the Forum argued that it was in the public interest that the Forum be given these documents. They could help mesothelioma victims currently pursuing compensation claims in courts. It was also in the wider public interest to learn more about how Cape contributed to the biggest industrial disaster this country has ever seen and how their political lobbying influenced Government safety measures that were supposed to protect the lives and well-being of workers.

In her judgement of 5 December Master McCloud agreed the Forum had a legitimate interest in obtaining the documents, and decided in the Forum’s favour, agreeing disclosure of most of the documents the Forum had requested. She stated that the Forum was “a group which provides help and support to asbestos victims. In some respects it is also a pressure group and is involved in lobbying and in promoting asbestos knowledge and safety. Those are legitimate activities and provide legitimate interest”.

Graham Dring, Chair of the Forum said “This decision is fantastic news. Cape, along with Turner & Newall were the two biggest asbestos companies in this country. Their activities and products exposed thousands of workers and their families to asbestos and caused many deaths from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. It is essential we now find out exactly how much they knew about the dangers of their products and when they knew this. These documents have been hidden for far too long. Cape owe us all an explanation of their role in the biggest industrial scandal to hit this country, a scandal that has not yet run its course with tens of thousands more men and women expected to die from mesothelioma”.

Harminder Bains of Leigh Day, and Rob Weir and Jonathan Butters of Devereux Chambers acted on behalf of the Forum.

Thank you Michael Galvin!

Michael completed the Melbourne Marathon on the 15th October 2017 in 4 hrs 20 mins.

Michael raised over £1,176 for GMAVSG.

A big thank you to Michael, and to everyone who sponsored him!

 

Scientists speak out against asbestos

Please take the time to view the clip below of scientists from the USA and Canada speaking out against the dangers of asbestos.

Thank you, Madelene & Natalie!

On 2-3rd September 2017, Madelene Holdsworth and Natalie Lamb of Slater & Gordon completed the gruelling 56 mile Bullock Smithy walk to raise funds for GMAVSG.

Following the walk, Madelene said: “It was an extreme challenge and we had a good go at it! Can’t say I’d do it again though….

Thank you for your efforts, Natalie & Madelene!

£573 was raised for GMAVSG (£708.75 with Gift Aid). Many thanks to all who donated.

 

Charity hike up Snowdon

On 29th April 2017, staff from the Manchester and Chester offices of Slater & Gordon hiked up Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales) to raise much-needed funds for GMAVSG and Mesothelioma UK.

The ascent was no walk in the park, but the team enjoyed spectacular panoramic views, on what turned out to be a beautifully clear day. This was one of Snowdon’s busiest weekends of the year. On the descent, there was a stark reminder of the dangers of the mountain, with rescue helicopters hovering above injured and fallen climbers.

Many thanks to the team at Slater & Gordon for their efforts, and to all those who donated.

A total of £917.24, including gift aid, was raised for GMAVSG.

Mesothelioma Support Group summer outing 2017

The Mesothelioma Support Group is for people who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma. Every year, we run a summer outing.

This year’s outing was a canal boat trip in the beautiful Peak District! Starting and ending at Whaley Bridge, the round trip took just over 2 hours. Those who came enjoyed fantastic views, tasty food, plenty of wine and, most importantly, good company!

 

Living Well with Mesothelioma Group meetings 2017

Details of the next 6 meetings have now been published.

7 August 2017. No meeting. Group outing—Castlefield Canal Cruise. Please ring us if you are interested in attending.

4 September 2017. “Addressing patient and carer’s needs—it’s good to talk.”

2 October 2017. “A spoonful of sugar”. Julie Whitehead. Macmillan Pharmacist, Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

6 November 2017. “The Role of the Pleural Nurse”. Sue Jackson, Pleural Nurse Practitioner, University Hospital South Manchester.

4 December 2017. “Mindfullness”. Ann Burgoyne. Macmillan Living Well Service Lead Practitioner, Blyth House Hospice, Chapel en le Frith.

8 January 2018 (NO MEETING ON 1 JANUARY). “What services/support are available in your area?” Mairead Dixon. Senior Mesothelioma Clinical Nurse Specialist, University Hospital South Manchester.

Please note, we will not be having a meeting on 7 August as this is the date of the group’s summer outing. We will be having lunch and cruising the canals around Manchester on a barge. It is not too late to sign up for this trip if you are interested. Ring us on 0161 636 7555 if you would like to join us.

Phoenix House saved

The campaign to save Phoenix House benefit office in Barrow has been won, at least until 2023! The Government announced that it has withdrawn plans to close down this specialist office and guaranteed it will stay open until at least 2023.

Congratulations to the workers at Phoenix House and their union, PCS, for waging such a good campaign. Well done too to all those support groups and campaigners who added their support. This decision is good news for victims of asbestos diseases who rely on the expertise of the staff in this office to ensure prompt and efficient payment of their benefits.

Action Mesothelioma Day 2017

Action Mesothelioma Day in Manchester had a distinctly international flavour this year with a delegation from Japanese asbestos victims groups paying a solidarity visit to events in 5 cities on Friday. We were delighted to welcome Mrs Chizuko Hirachi, who lost her husband to mesothelioma aged 60 in 2007, Mr Tadao Hirata who lost his brother to mesothelioma aged only 41 in 1989, as well as Mr Hiroshi Iida and Mr Sugio Furuya, both prominent campaigners on behalf of asbestos victims in Japan.

More than 200 people attended our commemoration and dove release in Sackville Gardens. This rally began with a moving speech from Vivienne Swain, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2015. Vivienne’s contribution was followed by speeches from local MPs Kate Green, Mike Kane, Debbie Abrahams, Tony Lloyd and Lucy Powell. Also addressing the rally was Councillor Joyce Bowerman, Civic Mayor of Tameside, whose brother was diagnosed with last year. Councillor Bowerman has chosen Mesothelioma UK as one of her nominated charities for the coming year.

Following the speeches, the dove release was led by Dave Staley, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015, and Tadao Hirata. Mesothelioma recognises no borders and our dove release commemorated all those who had lost their lives to this disease in Japan as well as at home. We share a common bond.

Our public meeting in the Mechanics Institute heard speeches from Chizuko Hirachi, who described how her husband was exposed to asbestos through living close to the Kubota asbestos factory in Japan and Jeff Eaman who outlined the impact of asbestos giant Turner & Newall in exposing workers in Greater Manchester to asbestos over many years. The main speaker was Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor, Chair of the National Mesothelioma Research Centre who spoke about what he hoped this new research centre could achieve in the mission to find a cure for this man-made disease.

We would like to thank all those attended on Friday as well as all of you who contributed so generously to our fundraising effort on behalf of the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund. We will post the final figure for money raised on this site later.