Special event to remember lost loved ones

More than 100 people attended the Action Mesothelioma Day event in Newcastle.
More than 100 people attended the Action Mesothelioma Day event in Newcastle.

Family and friends gathered to remember lost loved ones who have died as a result of mesothelioma.

Leading medical experts from across the UK joined more than 100 people at the special event marking Action Mesothelioma Day.

Chris Knighton, founder of the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund, with Leah Taylor, the mesothelioma nurse for North Tyneside and Northumberland, whose position MKMRF funds.

Chris Knighton, founder of the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund, with Leah Taylor, the mesothelioma nurse for North Tyneside and Northumberland, whose position MKMRF funds.

The Day, which started in 2006, gave people the chance to come together and remember those who had died as a result of the asbestos-related cancer.

The event, held in Walkerville, was organised by Chris Knighton, who set up the Wallsend-based Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund (MKMRF) after her husband died of mesothelioma in 2001.

To date, she has raised more than £1.5million to fund research into the disease and fund a dedicated mesothelioma nurse to help sufferers in North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Chris said: “The North East is one of the areas worst affected by the disease in the UK.

“Action Mesothelioma Day brings together, patients, their families, along with health and safety representatives and health and legal professionals, providing much-needed support, care and information on best possible treatment and clinical trials.”

Among the senior figures who attended were Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, and oncologist Dr Alastair Greystoke from the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.

The event saw the annual dove release and roll call of honour in memory of those who have passed away.

Specialist law firms, including Newcastle-based Sintons, also backed the day.

Raelene Lingam, who was a senior intensive care nurse before becoming a specialist asbestos lawyer, said: “Mesothelioma is a cruel disease which has claimed the lives of thousands of innocent workers who have been unwittingly exposed to asbestos while going about their daily lives.

“In the North East, we see particularly high rates of diagnosis and death, and I frequently see first-hand the horrendous effect this disease has on sufferers and their families.

“While currently there is no cure, occasions like Action Mesothelioma Day and the fantastic efforts of people like Chris Knighton to raise funds and awareness will hopefully one day change this.”