Hampshire schools caretaker from Romsey died from asbestos exposure

Daily Echo: Schools caretaker died of asbestos exposure Schools caretaker died of asbestos exposure

A MAN from Romsey who spent years working as a caretaker in schools across Hampshire died as a result of extreme asbestos exposure, an inquest heard.

Graham Gale, 62, of Symes Road, died on November 24 last year at Countess Mountbatten House of malignant mesothelioma.

Dr Balvinder Shoker, who carried out the post-mortem, confirmed Mr Gale had a large tumour in his right lung as well as other tumours of various sizes in his kidney, liver and intestines.

In his statement read out at the hearing Mr Gale gave a long and detailed description of his years working with asbestos materials while working for Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council and Eastleigh Borough Council.

Mr Gale, who was born in Shirley and attended Merry Oak Secondary School, left school in 1968 to become an apprentice painter and decorator and worked on council houses at Townhill Park.

“I recall rubbing down guttering and pipes in preparation for them to be repainted,” he wrote. “The majority of council homes had asbestos and a great deal of dust was created. I was never provided with a mask.”

Mr Gale went on to work for Prince and Sons before he was contracted at a primary school in Devon working to maintain the school classrooms which included fixing broken window ledges and cleaning pipes – all of which were made of asbestos.

Mr Gale said: “The school had a huge number of asthma sufferers as a result of the dust.”

He wrote of an incident where the water froze in the radiator during the winter and then flooded the room when it had thawed which caused a lot of the adjoining wall and floor to come away which threw a lot of dust into the air.

“My wife was working there at the time and she was assisting me,” he said. “At the time I was unaware of the danger and at no time was I given any warnings to do with the dangers of asbestos. In my view I would have continued exposure.”

Mr Gale also worked at Mountbatten School in Romsey.

“I was responsible for making sure the ceiling tiles were cleaned or fixed if they were broken,” he added. “It had a great deal of asbestos within it; the boilers were lined with asbestos as was the water tank.”

Recording a verdict of death of industrial disease, assistant coroner Sarah Whitby, said: “I have no doubt Mr Gale died as a result of industrial disease.”

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