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Bereaved family launch appeal to find former staff of Canterbury, Whitstable & Southwark schools after teacher’s asbestos related death

The family of Elizabeth Murphy, a former teacher, are looking to get in touch with any of her previous colleagues from her time working at schools in Canterbury, Whitstable and Southwark. Elizabeth passed away from mesothelioma – a type of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Betty Murphy, former teacher

Elizabeth, known as Betty, worked at schools in both Kent the London Borough of Southwark between 1966 and the early 2000s. Betty taught mainly History, French and English at various schools in the Canterbury area, including Barton Court Grammar School, Chaucer Technology School and Beech House Hospital School. She also worked at Joy Lane School in Whitstable, as well as The Sacred Heart RC School, St Veronica’s RC School and Honour Oak Girls’ Grammar School in Southwark.

After Betty died on 6th August 2020, a post-mortem revealed that she had died from mesothelioma, an incurable type of lung cancer that is linked to asbestos exposure. Prior to her death, Betty had told her family that she and her colleagues would put holes in walls and ceilings when hanging displays in the classroom.

Betty’s family have instructed social justice law firm, Hodge Jones & Allen, to look into Betty’s death. Their lawyer, Lorna Webster, said: “Although asbestos use was banned in the UK in 1999, mesothelioma often develops decades after the l exposure. With many school buildings dating back to times when asbestos use was commonplace, we’re unfortunately seeing mesothelioma cases in a number of people who worked in schools. It’s not only factory workers and tradespeople who have been exposed to asbestos throughout their working lives.”

Betty’s family are looking to get in touch with any former colleagues who may be able to confirm that Betty would have been exposed to asbestos materials during her time as a teacher.

Betty’s family have issued a statement, saying: “We’re shocked and saddened that Betty died from mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos in the career she loved so many years ago.  Many people think that asbestos diseases only affect tradespeople and factory-workers, but unfortunately many former school staff are affected too.”

For further information, please contact:

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