A 73-year-old ex-lecturer at Darlington College has said that she believes her incurable lung disease can be traced to her time working at the County Durham institution in the late 1970s.
In what appears to be another sad reminder of the importance of asbestos air testing if asbestos may have been disturbed, and other services related to the management of the lethal substance, Margaret Curry’s legal team has indicated that she is likely to have encountered the deadly dust and fibres between 1975 and 1980.
It was during this time that Mrs Curry – maiden name Callan – was working at the old Cleveland Avenue site of what was then known as Darlington College of Technology, as a food science teacher.
Another saddening and devastating diagnosis
Mrs Curry was told that she was suffering from the fatal lung condition mesothelioma in November. The cancer of the lung lining develops due to the inhalation of asbestos fibres and dust, but does not show its symptoms until decades after the initial exposure.
Fears have arisen as a result of Mrs Curry’s diagnosis that thousands of staff and students could have come into contact with the harmful substance while building work was taking place at the site, from which the college moved over a decade ago to its current new-build site just off Haughton Road.
“Overalls… contaminated with asbestos dust”
Mrs Curry commented: “When the work was carried out at the college in Darlington, the workmen wore overalls which I believe were contaminated with asbestos dust.
“They passed through common areas in their overalls. The common areas near the rooms they were working in were noticeably dustier than usual.”
Meanwhile, the college’s Universities and College Union representative Dennis McCabe said: “I am shocked that a former member of staff has been taken ill.
“There were potentially thousands of students there at the time, and members of staff, and it’s concerning to think how many people could have been exposed and wouldn’t know about it until decades later.”
Call for Margaret’s former colleagues to come forward
Meanwhile, Roger Maddocks, who is representing Mrs Curry as a specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, stated: “Those who worked alongside Margaret may have important information on the presence of asbestos at Darlington College as well as details of safety measures, if any, taken to protect staff from exposure to it.
“We hope former colleagues, students and others familiar with Darlington College will come forward with this crucial information so we can get justice for Margaret. We would also like to hear from any of the workmen involved in removing the asbestos from the ceilings at the college.”
Are you concerned about the potential presence of asbestos at your own organisation’s premises? If so, contact the Trident Asbestos Solutions team today about the asbestos air testing and related services that could be instrumental in safely detecting and managing such dangerous fibres.