Barrie Rigby

Exposure to asbestos killed my husband, by Vera Rigby

From the late 1960's Barrie Rigby trained as an apprentice to become an electrician. He enjoyed work and went on to be a maintenance electrician. His job involved him visiting different sites including some cotton mills in Oldham. He carried out jobs in boiler houses, close to asbestos lagged pipes. But as his wife puts it, Barrie was never given any protective clothing.

Barrie was a keen runner and avid golfer. Despite his good health in June 2003 Barrie became very breathless after climbing the stairs to the third floor apartment in Menorca where he and his family were staying on holiday.

Back home in Cumbria he visited his GP who sent him for tests at the local hospital. By August a chest x-ray revealed what looked like lung cancer. Two weeks later a chest consultant asked Barrie if he had ever worked with asbestos.

On his granddaughters 1st birthday, 2 October 2003, Barrie was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal lung disease and told he had 12 -18 months to live. Barrie then spent much of this painful time in hospital, he also had a lung removed. Barrie Rigby died in July 2005 aged 62.

Unfortunately Barrie's story is a familiar one. It is hard to believe that every week 20 maintenance workers, including plumbers and electricians die from asbestos related diseases caused simply by breathing in asbestos fibres.

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Updated 2023-05-16