Asbestos Annual Garden Party?

Asbestos Annual Garden Party?

Babington Hospital in Derbyshire has come a cropper due to asbestos.  The Friends of Babington Hospital have been organizing a fund raising annual Garden Party since way back in 1957.  To date, the yearly bash has raised more than a quarter of a million pounds and provided locals with a great party in the grounds of Babington Hospital.  The Garden Party features stalls and raffles and the entertainment is provided by the Babington Choir.

However, in early 2011 the equipment belonging to the event organisers was quarantined when a routine inspection found minute traces of asbestos in the whitewash which covered the walls of the cellar at the hospital where the equipment was stored.   The 2011 Garden Party had to be cancelled due to lack of equipment and it hasn’t been held since.

Asbestos in whitewash paint was fairly common in the UK before the asbestos ban of 1999 so it’s no surprise that it’s being found in historic paint jobs across the land.  Lead in paint was discovered to cause problems many years ago and its use is banned for toys and kids’ furniture, etc.  However, asbestos in paint is a less well known hazard and the folks who are the Friends of Babington Hospital were shocked at the quarantine of all this equipment that’s necessary to hold a good fund raising bash.

Babington Hospital employs around 30 full time staff members and serves patients in the Amber Valley area who are recovering from major operations in other hospitals.  The Friends raised more than £50,000 to build a new conservatory in 2006 and have provided the hospital with a sensory garden, new equipment, beds and televisions over the years.

So many of our hospitals and other public service buildings rely on fundraising events that it’s a real disappointment when they fall foul of health and safety regulations in this way.  The Friends of Babington Hospital have now been promised some funding to replace some of the equipment so that the annual Garden Party can go ahead in 2014.  It will be a somewhat smaller even than normal, but its return will be welcomed after three years without one.  Lack of time to prepare means that the Party will be necessarily be more low key this year than in previous years, but next year’s is likely to be back to normal.

We’re likely to see more incidents of this kind as asbestos is discovered in more of our public buildings and schools in the UK.  The material was widely used in the construction industry for so many years before it was banned.  This is despite the fact that the medical profession were seeing asbestos related health problems as far back as the 1920s.  Nowadays, society has become so litigious that taking risks in this way is a thing of the past.  Modern health and safety regulations are there to protect all of us, not just in the workplace, but in our homes, on our streets and in all aspects of our daily lives.