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Family to act over asbestos tragedy

Joyce Woodward, 80, from Fleetwood, who died from mesothelioma

Joyce Woodward, 80, from Fleetwood, who died from mesothelioma

The family of a school caterer who died from an industrial disease is preparing to make a claim against County Hall.

An inquest heard Joyce Woodward, 80, of Mowbray Road, Fleetwood, died after coming into contact with asbestos during her 40-year career working in schools in the port.

Her daughter, Sue Partington, 56, from Thornton, said since the inquest had confirmed an asbestos link, the family would seek legal advice to pursue a claim against Lancashire County Council.

She said: “I think it’s what she would have wanted.

“There wasn’t a proper diagnosis before she died but now the coroner has recorded her death is linked to asbestos exposure.”

Breathing

The inquest heard Mrs Woodward, who was employed by the school meals service, worked at Flakefleet and Chaucer Primary Schools and Cardinal Allen High School.

The grandmother-of-two enjoyed an active life after retirement, baking for family and friends, before she began suffering from breathing problems.

Her health deteriorated and Mrs Woodward was taken to Trinity Hospice on May 5, where she died surrounded by her family on May 29.

A post mortem revealed Mrs Woodward died from a rare, aggressive form of mesothelioma called sarcomatoid.

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Anne Hind, Blackpool Coroner, recorded a verdict of industrial disease.

She said: “This is the frightening thing about this tumour – the exposure can be so long in the past. If the World Health Protection Agency is to be believed, we are going to have a huge explosion of deaths of this kind over the next decade. We have had a lot more cases in the last few years than we have in the last 20.”

Mrs Woodward’s relatives said she is deeply missed by her family.

Mrs Partington added: “It’s sad that she was so active and suddenly it was all taken away.

“She loved working in the schools, she loved the baking in the schools, interacting between staff and getting to know the kids. She must have made meals for thousands and thousands of meals for children.

“We all miss her.”

Bev Cullen, a solicitor at Lancashire County Council, said: “We are sorry to hear of the death of our former employee, Mrs Woodward, and offer our sympathy to her family.

“If a claim is received from her family we shall of course deal with it under the appropriate procedures, but are unable to comment further at this stage.”

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