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3 July 2024 | Comment | Article by Richard Green

Action Mesothelioma Day | Our work with South West Asbestos Support and Awareness Group (SWASAG)

Written by Christie McCallum, Solicitor in our Asbestos Ligation team.

To mark Action Mesothelioma Day on 5th July 2024, our Plymouth team is joining the South West Asbestos Support and Awareness Group at Home Park to pay tribute to all those who have suffered from asbestos diseases, and to raise awareness of these illnesses.

The South West Asbestos Support & Awareness Group, better known as SWASAG, is a charity which helps people living with asbestos-related conditions across the South West of England. Being diagnosed with an asbestos illness can be a devastating and frightening time for individuals and their families, and Trustees of SWASAG Helen Rowe and Julie Pleau experienced this when their father was sadly diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015. Helen and Julie worked with Chairman Steve Jones, and specialist mesothelioma nurse Christine Jones, to establish SWASAG and bring support to people across the South West.

SWASAG provides support to individuals and their families whenever needed and offers a breadth of advice on access to financial and legal assistance. SWASAG also runs monthly support groups in Plymouth and Truro. The support groups are a safe, relaxed environment for patients and their families to come together and meet others going through similar experiences. With specialist Mesothelioma nurse Christine Jones also in attendance, the meetings are an invaluable resource for many, and a warm welcome into a supportive network.

SWASAG also fundraises to continue supporting those with asbestos illnesses, recently raising over £4000 at its annual fundraiser which will go towards continuing to support Christine Jones as Mesothelioma UK Nurse for the South West.

Partner, Andrew Walker in our Asbestos Litigation team, has supported SWASAG since its conception, and has seen first-hand the benefit it has made to the lives of those suffering from asbestos related illnesses.

Andrew said:
“When I first started representing clients suffering from asbestos related illnesses, there weren’t any support groups for them to join.  Thanks to SWASAG, sufferers now have a network and community where they can interact and get much needed support and information in respect of their illnesses.  It is important that we remember those who have suffered from these illnesses as well as continue to support those who are currently going through their journey.  Action Mesothelioma Day is an important event to achieve this.”

Sadly, the Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth is a large contributor to the cases of asbestos related illnesses in the South West of England. The Devonport Dockyard has long been one of Plymouth’s largest employers, with locals and those from further afield reliant on the employment opportunities in shipbuilding and ship maintenance. We’ve heard many talk about the heavy use of asbestos at the Devonport Dockyard until the 1990s, and many retirees from the Dockyard are now being supported by SWASAG, describing the conditions as “extremely dusty and dirty” with little to no health and safety measures in place.

As we continue to see asbestos related illnesses diagnosed even in 2024, the work and support provided by SWASAG continues to make a massive difference to those affected.

Key contact

Richard Green


Richard is a Partner and Head of the Asbestos Litigation team. Richard specialises in asbestos-related disease claims and has recovered millions of pounds in compensation for his clients.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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