‘I dodged a bullet’: Tip worker’s life saved by vigilant boss

Barry Thomas and Michelle Forsyth

A tip worker showed a picture of the mole on his back to his gaffer – who immediately recognised it as cancerous.

Supervisor at the waste depot in Snowdon Road, St Annes, Simon Chambers, had just been on a skin cancer awareness course and ordered Barry Thomas, 55, to get to the doctor. He is now waiting for the melanoma to be removed.

And Barry, from Witton Avenue, Fleetwood, said: “I have dodged a bullet. I try not to think about what could have happened had I not gone to the GP. “

The Sun Safety course was booked for tip staff, who spend much of their day outdoors, by Fylde Council, and is where Simon learned how to spot the signs of potentially deadly growths.

Barry said: “I had a mole with my wife Emma had been nagging me to get checked. I knew it may have been suspect and I’m just starting to realise how lucky I have been, especially as I have a seven-year-old son. I rang my GP at 8am and by 10.30am I had been referred to Clifton Hospital’s skin cancer specialist and booked in for a removal.”

The melanoma had not penetrated Barry’s skin, though health experts said that, if left untreated, the cancer could have killed him.

Waste operations manager Sarah Wilson said the course, offered by charity SKCIN, was the first bespoke training in sun safety the authority has taken. “We employ of a lot of outdoor workers and want to keep them as safe as possible,” she said. “It has just proven that education can save lives and we are proud to have been able to potentially save Barry’s life. We will continue to remind the workforce of sun safety and are now in the process of becoming the first accredited Sun Safe workplace on the Fylde coast.”

SKCIN ambassador, Michelle Forsyth, skin cancer coordinator at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Barry’s situation highlights the importance of education, awareness and early detection which is paramount as it is proving it is saving people’s lives.

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