MEET OUR MEMBERS
Meet some of our members....
Isobel’s husband, Brian, was tragically diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2009 and, following Brian’s insistence, they attended one of the very first drop-in sessions of BASG. Isobel, who lives in Tilehurst, says “At first, I didn’t really fancy going to the BASG meetings, but I am so pleased that Brian thought it would be a good idea for us to go. I lost Brian in January 2010, which of course was devastating. However, I am pleased that there was such a great support network at BASG and I have now made friends for life. Brian knew that there would be people there to support me”.
Isobel loves to travel and has visited New England, Tenerife and Turkey. She is looking forward to her next holiday in the Canadian Rockies. She has joined an on-line forum for widows and widowers called “Way Up”.
Beryl first contacted BASG in 2009, shortly after her husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Harold tragically died just three months later. Beryl says, “BASG raises awareness of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. I have made some really good friends here and have met people in a similar situation to me. An advisor from the group came to see me at my home to assist with benefits applications.”
Beryl, who is 84 years young and a keen singer, is a member of the Gosbrook Road Methodist Church choir group. She is also a keen fundraiser, holding monthly coffee mornings in her own home for “Help the Heroes”, recently raising over £1,000. She also does lots of knitting for the Buscot Ward at Royal Berkshire Hospital. She has now made 145 jackets! She also knits for Battersea Dogs.
Laura helped to set up BASG when she saw a need for a local group that could provide support and advice to those affected by asbestos diseases and to provide links with other relevant organisations.
Laura is a solicitor, based in Reading, who has dedicated her legal career to helping those affected by asbestos diseases.
In her spare time, Laura is also a volunteer for Sense, a national charity which supports children and adults who are blind and individuals that are affected by dual sensory impairments.
Jenny, who lives in Tilehurst, sadly knows only too well the devastation that mesothelioma can cause. Her husband, Zbig (known as “Mick the Bookie” due to him being a bookmaker) was given a diagnosis of mesothelioma in July 2014 following his exposure to asbestos whilst working as a labourer, sweeping up asbestos that had been used by laggers. He passed away just three months after his diagnosis.
Jenny says, “He only had 16 weeks from diagnosis to death. I feel that I have been robbed for the rest of my life, as do the children and grandchildren.”
Sue lives in Tilehurst and is a founding member of BASG. She first came to a meeting in August 2009 and found it extremely helpful to meet other widows who have gone through the same suffering that she has. We are delighted that Sue has made new friends and connected with old friends through BASG.
Sue’s husband Joe attended his doctor and hospital numerous times in April 2008 because he didn’t feel “quite right”. He was in fact suffering from mesothelioma which was eventually diagnosed in July 2008. Tragically Joe passed away just three months later, on 10 November 2008. A heating engineer by trade, Joe worked for a plumbing and heating company in west Reading for about 22 years in the 1970s and 1980s.
Kat has supported BASG and attended the monthly support group meetings since its early beginnings. She helps to organise BASG's Mesothelioma Day events, to support Action Mesothelioma Day, an annual event where likeminded groups across the UK hold public meetings to raise awareness of mesothelioma.
When she's not helping out at BASG Kat enjoys spending time with her partner and very active two year old son. When she has the time she enjoys reading and socialising with friends and family.
Ted, 88, of Woodley was born on the day of The Battle of Trafalgar. He is suffering with a benign asbestos-related disease and can only assume he developed this as a result of his work as a bricklayer.
He reports that tubes on the boiler were lagged with asbestos and he was sent on regular jobs, working at power stations in or near to Bristol, Middlesbrough, Greenwich and Dartford. He has regular checkups and x-rays at Royal Berkshire Hospital. He suffers with a chronic cough.
Ted says, “My father and brother died of asbestos-related disease. They did the same job as me”.
Marion, from Caversham Park, only recently joined BASG but has found it useful to talk to other people that have experienced a similar loss to her.
Marion’s husband, Jeffrey, a former council worker, was diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma. Jeff tragically passed away just two years after his diagnosis, in January 2015.
Marion says, “Jeff and I were completely devastated by the diagnosis. It was a tragic blow to the family, especially coming so shortly after he retired”.
Marion is a keen gardener and loves reading. She is now a member of the WI and has joined a cinema club.
Reg Hopkins, 84, of Burghfield, is our newest member. He has asbestos-related pleural thickening, and has had asbestos-related pleural effusions. A recent biopsy also revealed that he has benign fibrosis.
Reg worked at Earley Power Station for about 20 years, between the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, alongside laggers as they stripped old asbestos lagging from pipe work.
Reg always has a smile on his face and we are delighted that he continues to attend the BASG meetings. Reg is a keen gardener and loves his geraniums!