Action Mesothelioma Day in Manchester had a distinctly international flavour this year with a delegation from Japanese asbestos victims groups paying a solidarity visit to events in 5 cities on Friday. We were delighted to welcome Mrs Chizuko Hirachi, who lost her husband to mesothelioma aged 60 in 2007, Mr Tadao Hirata who lost his brother to mesothelioma aged only 41 in 1989, as well as Mr Hiroshi Iida and Mr Sugio Furuya, both prominent campaigners on behalf of asbestos victims in Japan.
More than 200 people attended our commemoration and dove release in Sackville Gardens. This rally began with a moving speech from Vivienne Swain, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2015. Vivienne’s contribution was followed by speeches from local MPs Kate Green, Mike Kane, Debbie Abrahams, Tony Lloyd and Lucy Powell. Also addressing the rally was Councillor Joyce Bowerman, Civic Mayor of Tameside, whose brother was diagnosed with last year. Councillor Bowerman has chosen Mesothelioma UK as one of her nominated charities for the coming year.
Following the speeches, the dove release was led by Dave Staley, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015, and Tadao Hirata. Mesothelioma recognises no borders and our dove release commemorated all those who had lost their lives to this disease in Japan as well as at home. We share a common bond.
Our public meeting in the Mechanics Institute heard speeches from Chizuko Hirachi, who described how her husband was exposed to asbestos through living close to the Kubota asbestos factory in Japan and Jeff Eaman who outlined the impact of asbestos giant Turner & Newall in exposing workers in Greater Manchester to asbestos over many years. The main speaker was Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor, Chair of the National Mesothelioma Research Centre who spoke about what he hoped this new research centre could achieve in the mission to find a cure for this man-made disease.
We would like to thank all those attended on Friday as well as all of you who contributed so generously to our fundraising effort on behalf of the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund. We will post the final figure for money raised on this site later.