A former Preston College handyman has come forward with his fears over asbestos in and around classrooms.
Ron Entwistle, 76, has spoken out after reading last week’s Evening Post story concerning death of former lecturer Cynthia Clarke from asbestos-related mesothelioma.
Mr Entwistle, of Sunningdale, Woodplumpton, who knew of Ms Clarke during his employment from 1987 to 1998, had prepared a witness statement in her legal action against Lancashire County Council, but the case was settled quietly out of court after her 2010 death.
Mr Entwistle echoes the fears of Ms Clarke’s sister, Elizabeth Smith, believing that thousands of others may have exposed.
He said: “I don’t want to pop my clogs and for people not to know what I do about that time.
“In the late 1980s computers were being installed and the service routes went through ceiling voids. There were times that we had to take the asbestos boards out, and at that time I didn’t realise they were dangerous.
“The roof space was two to three foot high, just enough to get your head in. That was why it was difficult to manoeuvre eight foot sheets, and why they broke.
“I had to go into the ceiling space regularly to connect up the florescent lighting which involved screwing the asbestos boards and asbestos fibres were released then.”
Mr Entwistle also claims that fibres were released when cleaners polished asbestos-impregnated boards that covered internal drainage pipes, and when asbestos-lined fire doors were taken off and cut up in corridors.
He said: “When it got to the late 1980s, and we were told that asbestos was being removed, alarm bells started ringing.
“They sheeted up the corridors to ensure that asbestos dust did not escape, but I anticipate that the damage had already been done because of our work.”
As stated in the Evening Post last week, the college insist the information relates to alleged exposure to asbestos fibres that occurred prior to the College’s incorporation in 1992.
A spokesman said: “Before and since this time, asbestos has been removed from the vast majority of the site and any small amounts of residuary asbestos containing materials are now controlled via asbestos registers and the College facilities team.”
Preston College only use approved contractors for working with the residual material and it is not aware of any further claims of a similar nature.