Michael’s wife Gina, a nursery school teacher, and an NUT member, was exposed to asbestos at a number of different schools and died of mesothelioma at the age of 51. In the 12 years since her death, Michael has emerged as a leading voice on the risks of asbestos exposure.
His website www.asbestosexposureschools.co.uk is one of the best places on the internet for evidence and research about asbestos and mesothelioma. Michael has also written extensively on the subject in the press, advised countless journalists and given a great many media interviews.
The NUT and Michael have worked closely together since 2005. Together we helped set up the Asbestos in Schools Group (AiS). The group was instrumental in persuading the Department for Education (DfE) to establish an Asbestos Steering Group to improve asbestos management in schools. The AiS has also advised the DfE on web-based asbestos awareness guidance for schools.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The NUT is very proud of its association with Michael Lees through the Joint Union Asbestos Committee. Michael is a tireless campaigner who approaches his work with tenacity, passion and reason. I am delighted that he is receiving this year’s Fred & Anne Jarvis Award.”