Deadly material was present at Hutton and Tong schools, inquest is told

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: the old Tong School, where Graham Butterfield worked the old Tong School, where Graham Butterfield worked

The widow of a teacher who died after working in asbestos-contaminated Bradford schools for more than 20 years is to lobby the Government to save other families suffering the same fate.

Marilyn Butterfield said it was a shock when her husband Graham was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and losing him to the disease was devastating.

Mr Butterfield, 64, of Kenstone Crescent, Idle, had been fit and healthy until the summer of 2009 when he got a troublesome cough and he went on to experience breathlessness, sweating and weight loss which resulted in extensive investigations revealing the asbestos-linked cancer.

He died in January this year at the city’s Marie Curie Hospice.

At an inquest in Bradford yesterday, Acting Bradford Coroner Professor Paul Marks recorded a verdict that Mr Butterfield had died of an industrial disease contracted while he worked at various schools in Bradford.

He had worked as a geography teacher at Hutton Middle School and Tong Comprehensive School between 1967 and 1996, and while at Hutton had helped with the cabling of computers which involved being in the basement and service tunnels, exposing him to asbestos lagging dust.

After the hearing, Mrs Butterfield said: “To lose Graham to mesothelioma was devastating.

“You often hear about workers in heavy industry becoming ill in later life but Graham was a teacher and we were shocked when Graham was told that he had an asbestos disease.

“I cannot believe that he was exposed to this dust in a teaching environment which should be a safe place for our children to learn.

“I call upon politicians of all parties to look seriously at the problem of asbestos in schools and plan properly how to ensure the safety of teachers and pupils in the future. Nothing can bring Graham back and we miss him every day, but I desperately want something positive to come from his death so that nobody else goes through what we have been through.”

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