Silent killer claims another victim

TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known Felixstowe woman who has died after an illness, during which she planned for her own death.Friends spoke of Juanita Russell's amazing courage as she faced up to the fact that she was dying from the silent killer asbestosis – and prepared all the arrangements for her own funeral.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known Felixstowe woman who has died after an illness, during which she planned for her own death.

Friends spoke of Juanita Russell's amazing courage as she faced up to the fact that she was dying from the silent killer asbestosis – and prepared all the arrangements for her own funeral.

It was her last wish that the funeral should be just as she wanted it, choosing the mourners and service, visiting the church to ensure everything would be as she had planned – and even writing a letter to be read out at the service.

The Evening Star is running a campaign highlighting asbestosis, which can lie dormant in a person for years and only manifests itself when it is too late.

Born and bred in Felixstowe, Ms Russell, 64, of Goyfield Avenue, was involved enormously in the life of the community and its organisations.

Golf was her great love and she was a ladies' captain at the Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club, where she played regularly, a founder member of both the Trimley Wives' Club and the Martello Circle at Old Felixstowe Community Association.

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She had also been involved in the town's sea cadets and a flower club.

Ms Russell, who for 20 years was a partner in Hammond's Newsagents in Hamilton Road until retirement, also served for two years as chairman of the resort's chamber of trade and commerce.

She was a driving force behind the group during one of its busiest periods, leading several initiatives to try to attract more tourists to the resort.

About a year ago, she started feeling unwell with chest problems – later to be diagnosed as asbestosis.

Her son Paul Pinder said: "It can lay dormant for 20 to 30 years in a person and we are told there may be many cases in the years ahead. My father was a builder and my mum worked at a builder's yard when she was young and that could be where she came into contact with asbestos.

"The doctors could not tell what it was at first and then she had an operation to remove fluid on the lung and it was still not right."

She died in St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich on November 26.

Mr Pinder said the whole family and all her friends would miss her hugely and all admired her bravery in deciding the arrangements for the Thanksgiving Service for her life, which is to be held at Trinity Methodist Church, Felixstowe, on Friday December 3 at 1.45pm.

"She will have the last word because she has written a letter which the minister will read out," he said.

"We all have so many happy memories of her, especially at the beach hut and on the prom, and she always wanted to make a difference whatever she was involved in.

"I know she really enjoyed her time as chairman of the chamber of trade when Felixstowe was looking at TV and radio adverts, and she launched the road train, and helped get the radio system in shops to help detect crime."

Ms Russell leaves two sons, Paul and Carl, six grandchildren, and a sister Wendy.

Has your family been affected by asbestos? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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