Ipswich Town legend Colin Harper died of industrial disease, inquest hears

Colin Harper (centre) aged 27, with George Burley and Bruce Twamley in January 1974. Picture: OWEN H

Colin Harper (centre) aged 27, with George Burley and Bruce Twamley in January 1974. Picture: OWEN HINES - Credit: Archant

An ex-Ipswich Town player who worked with asbestos before becoming a professional footballer died of industrial disease, an inquest heard.

Colin George Harper, who was born in Ipswich on July 25, 1946, played for Ipswich Town between 1966 and 1977, with a short spell afterwards at Cambridge United and as player-manager for Chelmsford City and Sudbury Town.

Coroner Dr Dan Sharpstone told the inquest that before becoming a footballer, Mr Harper had worked as an apprentice as a carpenter and joiner, constructing cabinets and doors containing asbestos.

Mr Harper cut the asbestos with a circular saw, generating a large volume of dust and sending asbestos fibres into the air.

The inquest heard that it was impossible for Mr Harper to avoid the dust as he swept, that he was never warned of the dangers of inhaling asbestos and did not wear a mask while he worked.

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He was particularly exposed when making fire doors.

After retiring from football, Mr Harper became a builder but had no further contact with asbestos.

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Mr Harper had been moved to St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, where he was receiving end of life care until his death on March 23, 2018.

He is survived by his wife Carol and three children.

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