I first wrote about Bernie Banton here. The heroic victim of asbestos-related mesothelioma died this morning aged 61.
I am so sad that it had to be this way for Bernie – a dignified, decent, good man; at the mercy of a corporation who admitted far too late it was exposing its workers to unsafe conditions, abandoning him to a painful fate most of us couldn’t even begin to imagine.
A journalist on the radio today described Bernie’s cancer and the treatment regime he had to follow as “ghastly.” In reality the awfulness of his condition was almost indescribable. Yet he continued to actively campaign for the rights of his fellow sufferers. A few days ago he said:
“What a wonderful opportunity I’ve had to fight for all the victims and their families.”
I am convinced that Bernie Banton was an angel living here on earth. It is rare to come across a human being who possessed such an unflinching sense of grace. He is to have a State Funeral which will take place next week. It is not everyday that a man like him comes along. He will always be remembered. His remarkable spirit in the face of such adversity is summed up best by Helen Keller:
” I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
Goodbye, Bernie. Rest peacefully…….