Tragic family hit by asbestos loses two sisters in 6 months

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A family hit by tragedy after discovering eight siblings were suffering from an incurable asbestos-related lung condition linked to their father’s job have suffered a double blow with the deaths of two of their number.

The brothers and sisters have developed pleural plaques – scarring on the lungs due to exposure to asbestos – because their father worked at an asbestos factory in the 1930s and brought the deadly dust home on his overalls.

An inquest heard how Marjorie King, 67, one of five girls and five boys in total, died from malignant mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to the poisonous material. Just six months later, another sister, Cecelia, 77, also passed away.

Their devastated sister, Maureen McGeogh, 73, of Luddenden, West Yorkshire, described losing her two sisters as a “real blow”.

An inquest into Marjorie’s death heard she was exposed through the dust her father Korah Leah, a foreman at Cape Asbestos in Hebden Bridge, brought home.

When Mrs King died at Overgate Hospice in Elland, on July 30 last year, a tumour was found on her right lung and asbestos bodies were discovered in lung tissue.

Deputy Coroner Professor Paul Marks concluded she died from the industrial disease.

Mother-of-three Maureen said: “Cecelia died six months after Marjorie. It was a real blow for us, going from five sisters to three.”

Maureen has recalled how she and her siblings would play with their father when he returned home from work while he was still covered in dust, all unaware of the dangers they faced.

Speaking in 2010 when they launched a fight for compensation, she said: “I remember my mother shaking his overalls and dust going everywhere.”

“We sometimes went to work with him on Sunday and would play in the piles of dust. We just didn’t realise it was dangerous.

“Dad’s death was awful, just terrible. He was such a doting dad. He would be devastated if he knew about this.”

Out of the other siblings, Gerald, 78, has pleural plaques and emphysema while Cedric, 74, Rosalind, 71, Raymond, 69, and Glynn, 64, all have scarred lungs.

They each suffer varying degrees of shortness of breath and live with the increased likelihood of developing incurable cancer.

The only siblings unaffected are Kathleen, 63, and Vincent, 61, born after their father left the firm.

Their father died of lung cancer at the age of 68, 10 years after leaving the firm in 1958. The family do not qualify for compensation since none has ever worked with the asbestos.

A change in the law entitles those with plaques to £5,000 – but only if they worked with asbestos.