Burnley teacher fights to prove cancer caused by classroom asbestos

Former teacher Janet Gent

Former teacher Janet Gent

First published in News

A FORMER teacher has spoken of her fight to prove asbestos in the classroom has caused her terminal cancer.

Janet Gent, 65, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2012 and believes it is linked to her career teaching in East Lancashire schools.

She spent eight years teaching home economics at the former Walton High School in Nelson and then, after the birth of her son Douglas, returned to supply teaching at high schools and special schools in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale. And while she was left stunned when she first learned of her condition. and now walking any distance and even basic chores are a struggle, she has kept battling on.

Mrs Gent, who lived in Burnley and Reedley while teaching, said: “I am determined to carry on.

“I just feel that someone needs doing about getting the county council to acknowledge their responsibilities.

“We were never warned that there was any danger — there was never any advice or guidance given to teachers, pupils or parents.”

Her struggle has been made more difficult because the old Walton High School was pulled down in 2006 and 2007 before reopening as Pendle Vale College.

Her classes were mainly held in the ROSLA building, constructed in the early 70s and envisaged as temporary accommodation.

“If people remember something small, even work on the walls or the way the ceiling tiles would bounce up and down, then it might assist,” added Mrs Gent, who also has a daughter, Dione.

Her solicitor Joanne Candlish, of Liverpool-based Thompsons, said her firm was beginning to see more and more cases of asbestos exposure linked to school careers.

The solicitor can be contacted by anyone able to offer assistance on 0151 224 1644.

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