Former Rugby Player’s Death Linked to Asbestos Exposure

An inquest into the death of 89-year-old Melampus Street, Barrow resident Alan Scott was held Tuesday at Barrow Town Hall. Scott died on February 8, 2012 at Furness General Hospital. Scott was a former rugby player who played for Vickers before he started playing at Furness Golf Club for over 40 years. Scott's widow, Sheila Elise, told the members of the inquest that he worked for most of his life at a shipyard. According to Mrs. Scott, her husband claimed to have been exposed to asbestos. Over the years, Scott began working as a shop floor fitter before moving up to the drawing office and, finally, to the position of mock-up superintendent. Mrs. Scott claimed that her husband was relatively healthy and smoked only "very, very slightly," largely because he played rugby and spent a lot of his time training. The pathologist listed the official cause of death as bronchopneumonia, which he claimed resulted from pulmonary fibrosis. According to the pathologist, this condition was almost certainly caused by Scott's prolonged exposure to asbestos. Ian Smith, the South and East Cumbria serving coroner, supported these claims and said that Scott's asbestos exposure was proven to have occurred and could be almost certainly linked to his work. Smith did concede that most of those who have worked at the shipyard do not, and will not, die from asbestos exposure, but still claimed that "a significant number will." Smith estimated that about 100,000 individuals have worked in the shipyard since the war, and most have died from relatively common ailments like heart disease and stroke. Still, Smith officially stated that Scott's death was caused by an industrial disease. Scott, who many knew as "Chick", attended Oxford Street Juniors before he advanced to Barrow Grammar School. He was 15 when he started playing for the Vickers Sports Club, and he spent many years playing for the team before he joined the Royal Navy. During the period that he performed National Service, he was based in Portsmouth and played rugby for the Combined Services. After completing his term of service, Scott moved back to Barrow and began working at the shipyard. During that time, he spent many years playing for Vickers RU. He played at wing forward and also served as Captain for a large part of his time with the team. Reference:
  • North-West Evening Mail Staff Writer. (May 3, 2012). “Asbestos Played Part in Barrow man’s Death.” Retrieved on May 3, 2012, from the North-West Evening Mail.
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