Family's asbestos plea over cancer death

Wells Cathedral School Image copyright Paul Farmer/Geograph
Image caption Elizabeth Ann Griggs worked at the school between 1969 and 2001

An appeal has been made to former school colleagues of a grandmother who died from a cancer usually linked to asbestos exposure.

Elizabeth Ann Griggs, 79, worked as a science lab technician at Wells Cathedral School in Somerset between 1969 and 2001, a law firm said.

It is asking former staff and pupils to provide information "regarding the use of asbestos-based equipment".

Mrs Griggs died in November 2017 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Her family has instructed Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether lab equipment she used at the school in the 1970s caused her disease.

Before she died, Mrs Griggs, who was known as Ann Cutis when she worked at the school, said her work involved providing pupils with asbestos mats designed to prevent heat damage to work surfaces.

'Achieve justice'

She also remembered setting up and packing away bunsen burners containing solid asbestos.

Her husband, Gerald, from Shepton Mallet, said: "Ann died before she was able to achieve justice.

"We now want to honour her memory by doing this for her and would be grateful to anyone who might be able to provide more information."

The school said in a statement that it "immediately" withdrew the mats in 1976 following national guidance from the government that they "should be replaced wherever possible".

It also said following its "own investigations" it was understood that "bunsen burners do not contain asbestos, but are made of metal".

It added that it was "fully compliant with all regulatory requirements in respect of the management of asbestos, and does everything that it reasonably can do to make sure that staff, pupils and other visitors are safe."

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of some of the body's organs.

An NHS website says it is "usually linked to asbestos exposure".

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