Thursday, February 5, 2004

CLYDEBANK asbestos group have received a cash boost, thanks to daredevil supporter Gillian Petrie.

Twenty-two-year-old Gillian threw herself out of a plane from 3,000 feet, in a bid to raise vital funds for the charity.

The brave girl journeyed to the Perthshire based Strathallan Airfield, to raise the £1,230 cash sum.

She performed the hair-raising stunt in memory of her 52-year-old father Tom, formerly of Drumchapel, who contracted an asbestos-related illness through his work as an electrician.

Tragically he passed away 18 months ago, prompting Gillian to raise cash for the cause closest to his heart.

The veterinary nurse told the Post: “My dad died in September 2002 from mesothelioma. He was very closely involved with Clydebank Asbestos Group and committed to their cause.”

But the stunt wasn’t all easy for Gillian: “I was terrified going up in the plane and waiting to jump out,” she said. “But the descent was so exhilarating, it was absolutely fantastic.”

Jimmy Cloughley of the group, paid tribute to Gillian’s father and thanked her for her dedication.

Mr Cloughley said: “Tom was a giant of a man and was committed to campaigning even although he knew he was dying. He was an amiable man and a much missed member.”

He added: “The whole issue of asbestos is so emotive and for someone like him who was told he was dying to continue as he did was an act of such stupendous courage.

“He was such a nice guy and the cash raised by Gillian through her bravery is much appreciated by us all.”

The Crown Avenue based group have often been commended for their work on behalf of sufferers of asbestos related illness.

They are renowned for battling to improve benefits and rights for those affected by the awful legacy the burgh — known as the asbestos capital of Europe — has inherited from years of heavy industry.