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The services of an asbestos charity were last night praised by the Lord Provost, Cllr Bob Winter.  Cllr Winter gave his support to Clydeside Action on Asbestos at the charity’s 25th Anniversary Dinner in the City Chambers, and highlighted the value of the work carried out by the charity.  He said ‘The legacy of the widespread use of asbestos in Glasgow, and throughout Scotland, has resulted in a high incidence of asbestos related disease.  It is vital that people have support following their diagnosis, and have access to the information that they need to deal with it.  Clydeside Action on Asbestos has provided this help for 25 years to the great benefit of sufferers.’ Following the dinner, Cllr Winter officially presented the awards being given to people who have shown support and dedication to asbestos sufferers.  Councillor Philip Braat and Bailie Gordon Matheson were awarded an Honorary Membership to Clydeside Action on Asbestos for their commitment to those with an asbestos related disease.  Councillor Braat stated “I am delighted to receive this award.  It is important to the City of Glasgow that such a professional service is available and I fully support their cause.”

The Lord Provost also presented Frank Maguire Senior Partner with Thompsons Solicitors with a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Clydeside Action on Asbestos. Mr Maguire said: “Securing justice for asbestos victims is something I feel passionate about.

“I share that passion with everyone who is part of Clydeside Action on Asbestos. They deserve every praise for their massive contribution to raising awareness of the issue and supporting victims and their families.”

The First Minister, Mr Alex Salmond said ‘The effects of asbestos are an appalling legacy of Scotland’s industrial past and it’s important we all recognise the impact it has made on the health of workers who have contributed so much to Scotland’s economy throughout their career. Clydeside Action on Asbestos has campaigned tirelessly over the past 25 years for justice for those negligently exposed to asbestos; providing specialist advice on claiming industrial injuries benefits and state compensation; offering representation at appeals and providing a counselling service.  This event recognises the hard work of everyone involved in Clydeside Action to ensure those exposed to asbestos have access to the support and help they need’.

Ms Ann McKechin, Under Secretary of State for Scotland highlighted the difficulties facing a person diagnosed with an asbestos related disease during her opening remarks.  Ms McKechin added ‘ It is important to recognise the great anxiety and uncertainty people feel when they are diagnosed with a long term condition or terminal illness, and recognise the services provided by Clydeside Action on Asbestos.’

Ms Phyllis Craig, Senior Welfare rights Officer pledged to continue to work to build on the services available to people diagnosed with asbestos related disease. Ms Craig stated ‘The aim of the celebratory dinner was to give thanks to all those who have supported the charity during the last 25 years.  We have achieved so much and owe a great deal of our success to the many individuals and organisations that have come forward to participate in our campaigns.    We have much to learn from people with an asbestos related disease and will continue to work with them to find ways to identify and address their needs. The main aim of organising the charity event was to bring together medical, legal and political professionals with people who have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease to have a frank discussion of their needs.  The information gathered will assist us to identify ways to improve our service.’

Ms Craig continued ‘ Unfortunately there has been an increasing demand for our service over the last five years as more people are being diagnosed with the terminal illness, mesothelioma.  Although the charity is celebrating its 25th anniversary, it is likely that the services of the charity will continue to be needed for at least another 25 years.’

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