A former deputy editor on a Midlands daily newspaper died as a result of being exposed to asbestos, an inquest has heard.
Andy Parker, a journalist at the Burton Mail for almost 30 years, died on News Year’s Eve at the age of 58 after being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a cancerous tumour of the lining of the lung and chest cavity.
The Burton Mail reports that an inquest into his death heard the illness was a direct result of breathing in asbestos while working as a labourer for Burton building firm Thomas Lowe and Sons in 1973 and 1974.
He worked on sites where asbestos was present, including a hospital and a high school, with duties including sweeping up debris likely to have contained asbestos dust.
His widow Sally told the newspaper that he had not been aware of any risk to his health from his past work until his diagnosis in April.
She told the Mail: “When I met Andy his days were numbered but none of us knew. People who get this illness were usually exposed to asbestos in the 1960s and 70s, when people weren’t aware of the risk. It makes me angry, but there’s nothing I can do about it, and Andy was never angry and never moaned. He was very accepting that it was his time.”
The inquest heard he had undergone an operation in July to remove cancerous tissue and the membrane of his lungs, pleural cavity and heart but the tumour had returned rapidly and spread.
Dr Deidre McKenna, the consultant pathologist who carried out the post-mortem said malignant mesothelioma was ‘a very aggressive, highly malignant tumour which spreads in a relentless fashion and when stripped away grows back’.
Louise Pinder, deputy coroner, recorded a verdict of death caused by industrial disease.
Andy started with the Mail in the 1970s, returning in 1982 for almost three decades which saw him take on the role of deputy editor, before he left at the start of 2010 following a company restructure.
He was described as a ‘newsroom legend’ and ‘a newspaper man through and through’ by former colleagues following his death.