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MIDLAND: Memorial for Victims of Asbestos Diseases.

The Birmingham Post (England), February 27, 2006

A woman whose father died after being exposed to asbestos will today join other bereaved families at a special memorial service at Birmingham Cathedral.

Karen Wright will join up with relatives of up to 100 people who have lost their lives to asbestosis at St Philip's Cathedral to mark Action Mesothelioma Day.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that is usually caused by inhaling asbestos fibres and can take up to 25 years to appear.

Mrs Wright, aged 40, lost her father Derek Hoult to the condition four years ago. He had worked at an asbestos ceiling tile distributors 20 years ago.

She said her father's health had started to deteriorate in 2000.

"He had no idea anything was wrong," the mother-of-three from Great Barr said.

"At first it was just a niggly cough, nothing really major. Then he started losing weight over a couple of months.

"He couldn't breathe and he had chronic pain in his back. He was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma on September 13 2001 and he died two months later on November 17.

"His lungs had just disintegrated," said Mrs Wright. "Unfortunately, as with many companies at the time his firm did not have public liability insurance."

Mrs Wright now campaigns for the British Lung Foundation and the June Hancock Memorial Research Fund and has so far raised pounds 10,000.

"We raise money for the fund so they can look into treatments for this illness," she said.

Today marks the first Action Mesothelioma Day organised by the British Lung Foundation.

Alida Coates, from the Birmingham office of law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: "Because the time from exposure to onset of symptoms is 20 years or more, it can often be difficult to trace which employer is responsible for that exposure, particularly as many people will have moved from job to job."

Derek Hoult, who died from mesothelioma caused by asbestos, with his grandson Benjamin, his daughter Karen Wright's son