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Martin Hollands of Broadstairs died following exposure to asbestos

By Joe Wright

A 60-year-old engineer died just a matter of weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer caused by exposure to asbestos in the 1970s.

Martin Hollands, from Kingsgate in Broadstairs, died in March following a diagnosis of lung disease mesothelioma.

After originally showing symptoms of a chest infection, his health deteriorated rapidly in late 2018, with harsh coughing causing fractures to his ribs.

Canterbury Coroners Court, where the inquest was held
Canterbury Coroners Court, where the inquest was held

The inquest at Canterbury Coroners’ Court heard how Mr Hollands, of Percy Avenue, believed he had been exposed to asbestos during his working life, and his time at school.

A statement written by Mr Hollands after his diagnosis was read out to the court.

It read: “We used asbestos mats in science lessons. I remember leaving the classroom with asbestos dust on my blazer and we weren’t provided with masks.”

The statement went onto detail how he would regularly cut through asbestos tiles when working as an engineer in London and Kent.

He would often be “showered with clouds of dust” and was never warned of the dangers of asbestos or provided with washing facilities.

The statement continued: “I ended almost every day with dust all over me, including on my face.”

Mr Hollands worked with asbestos tiles
Mr Hollands worked with asbestos tiles

Following his sudden terminal mesothelioma diagnosis, non-smoker Mr Hollands - originally from Lewisham - was admitted to Thanet’s Pilgrims Hospice for end-of-life care before his death on March 13.

Assistant coroner James Dillon concluded that the Broadstairs resident, who went on to become a catering services engineer, died from an industrial disease.

He citied a clear history of “exposure to asbestos over a long period of time” as the reason behind Mr Hollands’ incurable health problems.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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