The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles!

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Vale Elizabeth Hastings, my childhood friend - dead after teaching in classrooms infested with asbestos.

Posted on February 11, 2016 at 12:50 AM

Elizabeth Belt was my childhood friend.


Her maiden name was Elizabeth Hastings.


We went to Brigg Preparatory School together.


We walked to our first day of High School together.


Elizabeth was a very pretty child with long, wavy brown hair.


She was very loved - her parents ran a service station and were well-off by the standards of our small town.


Elizabeth was always beautifully dressed.


Her parents had paid for her to have piano lessons - quite a luxury in those days - and when they gave her a birthday party we had to sit and listen while Elizabeth played the piano.


But however well your parents look after you, however much they love you, they can't protect you from an asbestos-riddled workplace.


Elizabeth became a teacher - as almost all Brigg Girls High School girls seemed to do in those days.


She died of mesothelioma in September 2015.


An inquest has found that she died of an "industrial disease" caught from pinning her students' work to asbestos pin boards.


She had inhaled a lethal dose of asbestos during her 27-year teaching career.


Elizabeth's daughter, Charlotte Shearwood, wants to raise awareness about mesothelioma.


She said: "I have no doubt that Mum contracted malignant mesothelioma as a result of ingesting asbestos while working as a teacher at various schools in north Lincolnshire between 1968 and 1995".


"It is a horrible, horrible disease. There is obviously a generation that worked with her in the same places. I suppose we are all angry, but I just think our sadness outweighs it."


The inquest was advised that North Lincolnshire insurers have accepted a claim with Elizabeth's family.


Rob Wiltshire, who was once the Workplace health and Safety Officer at Indooroopilly State High School, has been battling for years to raise awareness of asbestos issues in Queensland schools.



Primary school teacher dies after being exposed to asbestos for almost three decades, Oli Smith, The Express (UK) 22 January 2016

Teacher died from cancer after decades of exposure to asbestos, Matthew Weaver, The Guardian (UK), 22 January 2016

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