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Sutton John 1944(?) to - Building Contractor

Not dead yet - grandfather's ad counters cancer rumours

On being given the all-clear from cancer most people might simply breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy a loving hug from their closest family.  But grandfather John Sutton obviously felt he needed to go further.

The Gloucestershire builder was so pleased he published a full-colour advert in his local paper to proclaiming to friends that he was NOT dying.  Friends of the 63-year-old were so convinced that he had contracted terminal cancer from working with asbestos that his final arrangements were already being planned.

And finally fed-up with sombre well-wishers, Mr Sutton, from Tredworth, near Stroud, decided to let friends and collegues know that he was very much alive and kicking as soon as he got the good news.

The advert, adorned with trumpeting angels, begins 'allelujah!', mimicking American author Mark Twain's famous advert to his millions of fans denying he was dead. "Reports of my impending demise have been grossly exaggerated," it goes on to proudly proclaim.  It then goes on to announce, "We're tough from Tredworth! P.S. would the undertaker who expressed an interest in my condition please contact me with a view to doing a good deal in the future.

"Thank you for all your concern."

Earlier in the year, Mr Sutton had undergone hospital tests which showed a small amout of potentially lethal asbestos coating part of his lung.

It was feared that the father of three had contracted an incurable form of cancer dating from his time working for Fibrecrete, an local asbestos factory in Stroud.

"I had so many peeople asking me how long I had to live," said Mr Sutton, from Tredworth, near Stroud.

"They were all writing me off so this was a bit of light-hearted black humour.

"Thankfully the coating on my lung was benign. I was one of the lucky ones. There have been others who have died and many others who will die in the futureecause of working with asbestos."

The Fibercrete factory closed in 1969, although its name has been continuosly linked with many inquests into the deaths from industrial disease in the area.

Many men who have worked there are known to have died from contracting Mesothelioma-caused by exposure to the deadly mineral-sometimes up to fifty years later.

Last year a Gloucester coroner said it was 'more likely than not' that the death of another man from Stroud was caused by expopsure to asbestos fibres at Fibrectete 40 years earlier.

"I worked at Fibrecrete for a few years as a young man and used to go home looking like a snowman because of the dust," Remembers Mr Sutton.

"There was no dust extractor. We made and moulded asbestos. It was a filthy job, using diamond tipped saws to cut up the asbestos sheets.

"The work was dusty and dangerous. The most dangerous was the raw asbestos imported from South Africa in Hessian sacks-which we later used as aprons.

"The legacy for the rest of Stroud is all the Fibrecrete waste that is buried around these valleys."

Sourced from Mail on Sunday April 2007

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