A support group to help those affected by asbestos related disease in the Cheshire area is being officially launched on Wednesday, November 12, 2008.

The Dave Willcocks Asbestos Victim Support Group will be launched by widow Gill Willcocks at 1pm at the White Lion Inn, 31 Main Road, Weston, Crewe, Cheshire.

Gill announced plans to set up the group following her husband’s inquest in September this year.

Dave was 61 when he died from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung, which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Exposed to asbestos dust at work

He was exposed to the deadly dust while working for ICI at the Wallerscote works in Northwich, Cheshire from 1970 to 1973.

While caring for Dave, Gill vowed to help other people affected by mesothelioma by providing more information and advice on the disease.

The formal launch of the group will be attended by some its patrons including Dr Max Winson and Dr Ravinder Kedia, both leading local Consultant Chest Physicians at Leighton Hospital in Crewe.

Macmillan Lung Nurse Specialist at Leighton Hospital, Ms Sue Stubbs, will also address the meeting.

Information and Support for asbestos victims

Gill will formally introduce the group and its activities.

She said: “I am delighted that we are launching the DWAVSG. I vowed whilst caring for Dave that I would start a support group for asbestos victims in this area so that I can share my experience.

“It is a bittersweet feeling launching this group in his memory. I know he would be proud.

“We aim to provide information and support to asbestos victims and their families across the area. We hope that by providing this service we can help give much needed support during what is a distressing time for all those affected.”

The DWAVSG will help anyone in South and Mid Cheshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire areas who have been affected by asbestos related diseases.

The group will help families to gain practical support and advice. It has strong links with local chest consultants and the cancer specialist nursing team at the respiratory disease unit at Leighton Hospital, as well as maintaining contact with other asbestos support groups around the UK.

Benefits and Compensation for asbestos victims

The group will also put victims in touch with experts that can help them apply for benefits and compensation.

Thompsons Solicitors are providing support to the group. Thompsons represented Dave and Gill in the claim for compensation against ICI.

Terry Loughrey, solicitor and head of the Thompsons Solicitors Midlands Asbestos Team based in Stoke-on-Trent said: “Asbestos related disease has devastated the lives of hundreds of families in the Cheshire, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent area. The death toll is only going to grow over the next decade and this support group will be a welcome resource to all those affected.”