Published: 00:01, 04 March 2017
A dedicated former teacher who died of asbestos related cancer could have inhaled toxic fibres in the classrooms where she worked.
Pearl Davis, 69, spent a decade working at St Mary’s Primary School in Gillingham, Glencoe Primary School in Chatham and North Borough Primary School in Maidstone.
Last April, years after her retirement, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma. She died earlier this year.
Speaking after her inquest this week, her widower and father-of-three Freddie called on Kent County Council to do more to warn people who could have been exposed.
The 71-year-old, of Upper Road, Maidstone, said: “You always think labourers get mesothelioma because they work so closely with these substances, but to be in a classroom day-in day-out with young children, it came as such a shock to us.
“What was also incredibly upsetting to Pearl was the idea that children may have been put at risk on those premises. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Mrs Davis worked for a year at St Mary’s from 1987.
Her classroom was a school outbuilding which is believed to have contained asbestos ceiling panels.
At Glencoe she worked in a purpose-built hut, often built from asbestos containing materials, where she pinned youngsters’ work to the wall panels and hung displays from ceiling tiles.
While at North Borough there was a fire that left the building smoke damaged. Teachers were asked to help in cleaning up the debris without masks or other protection.
Mr Davis, who has appointed solicitors Irwin Mitchell, said he believed asbestos was removed from the cloakroom at this time.
Paying tribute, he said: “My wife loved writing poetry, she loved gardening, animals and her dogs.
“She lived with pain all her life but carried on. She had a strong personality and lived life to the full.”
At the inquest, the coroner ruled the death was industrial disease, but said it was not clear where Mrs Davis had been exposed to asbestos.