Croy to Clydebank canal challenge to support Asbestos charities

Industrial Disease Charity Walk 2019

Digby Brown’s Industrial Disease team once again set out to raise vital funds for not-for-profit charities Asbestos Action (Tayside) and Clydebank Asbestos Group by enduring another walk of near marathon proportions.

On Friday 3rd May 2019, the team set off from Croy at 8am - armed with blister plasters, energy bars and a healthy respect for long walks - and embarked along the Forth Canal Pathway. The 20-mile route - which ended at the International Asbestos Memorial - symbolises a mile for every year that asbestos has been banned in the UK.

The team taking on this challenge included Fraser Simpson, Head of Digby Brown’s Industrial Disease team, Euan Love, Nick Dochnenko, Mark Nicholson, Gary Ross, Caitlyn Maccabe, Siobhan Mortimer, Sarah Dunn, Nadia Pearson and Zuerika Riley.

With a combined history of over 40 years, the demand for support from both charities continues to increase as the number of asbestos victims grow year-on-year. In addition to raising funds, the team hopes to have raised awareness of the tremendous support and advice which both of these charities provide to sufferers of asbestos conditions and their families.

Hope Robertson, Secretary for Clydebank Asbestos Group, joined by colleage Bob Dickie, paid tribute to the walkers as they finished their journey.

She said: “This year marks 20 years since the ban on asbestos use in the UK but that does not mean our loved ones and communities are in the clear - just because something is confined to the history books does not mean its effects are.

“It takes just one fibre to contract an asbestos-related condition with signs of an illness not emerging until 40 years later.

"It’s crucial that everything is done to offer support to those affected by asbestos exposure and we’ve worked tirelessly to do that."

John Fearn, Manager for Asbestos Action, added:“But it’s only possible due to the generosity and support of individuals and communities such as this great team of walkers.

“So, to everyone who has helped us, I just want to extend our warmest thanks - you help us help others.”

Asbestos-related diseases occur when people breathe in asbestos fibre which can lead to benign conditions like pleural plaques, where the lining of the lungs calcify, or terminal cancers like mesothelioma, which can prove fatal just weeks after diagnosis.

Thousands have been affected across Scotland, as employers (particularly in construction and shipbuilding) failed to provide workers with safety equipment or breathing apparatus.

To this day, asbestos-related conditions claim around 3,000 lives in the UK every year – that’s a higher death toll than those killed on the roads.

The walking team, which included specialist industrial disease lawyers from Digby Brown Solicitors, amassed an incredible £8,000 via an online fundraising page with the legal firm matching their total.

It follows the same team’s efforts last year, when they raised £8,000 after completing a marathon 26-mile trek along the Fife Coastal Path.

Fraser Simpson, Partner and Head of Industrial Disease at Digby Brown, said: “Having fought for countless individuals and their families over the years, it’s these personal impacts and memories that inspire us with each passing mile.

“Digby Brown understands the impact of asbestos-related diseases - not just to the sufferer, but the knock-on trauma that can be experienced by their loved ones.

Clydebank Asbestos Group in the west and Asbestos Action in the east are truly indispensable to those who rely on their support, and we are honoured if our humble contribution in any way adds to their ceaseless efforts.”

If you would still like to donate to the cause, please visit their Just Giving Page “Digby Brown Croy to Clydebank Marathon Trek” to support the essential work of Asbestos Action and the Clydebank Asbestos Group.