asbestos
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A husband is suing a council after his wife contracted lung cancer after years of pinning children's school work to walls allegedly lined with asbestos.

Jennifer Barnett, 60, who worked at Archway School in Stroud, Gloucestershire, from 1980 to 1997, died in September 2014 after contracting mesothelioma – an asbestos-related disease –where a tumour was found on her right lung.

Her husband, Nigel, told an inquest she "became an art teacher from 1977 until 1995 at various schools, often hanging paintings on walls containing asbestos". Prior to that, he said she also worked on a farm in her twenties cutting sheets of asbestos.

A coroner recorded a verdict of death was caused by an industrial disease.

Nigel wants to take legal action against Gloucestershire County Council, claiming the asbestos in the school had a direct link to her death.

"I'll never forget the consultant at the hospital asking Jen if she'd ever been exposed to asbestos and her saying a definite 'yes' because she knew a lot of asbestos was previously used in school buildings," he told the Daily Mail.

"I'm hoping former teachers or ex-pupils will come forward who may have some knowledge about the asbestos ceiling tiles at Archway School or know of any other asbestos products or materials that were used there."

Archway headteacher Colin Belford was unaware of the coroner's verdict concerning his former colleague. He said: "Staff who worked with her at Archway spoke of her with great affection and admiration. I can say that all of the building work which has taken place at Archway in recent years is fully compliant with modern building regulations.

"I am not aware of any current risk to staff or students but will ask the local authority for its assurance on this matter."

Phil Ashbee-Dobbins, the council's asbestos administration officer, said: "Archway School has been extensively renovated in recent years. In addition, regular asbestos audits are completed as part of standard health and safety procedures.

"While we are unable to comment on this specific case, we would like to reassure parents, pupils and teachers that current guidance and practices in our country's schools appropriately manage the risks associated with asbestos."