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Middlesbrough woman campaigns for justice for nuclear test veterans and their families
THE daughter of a nuclear bomb test veteran who believes she has inherited genetic diseases is campaigning to help other families who could also have been passed the toxic legacy.
Shelly Grigg recently celebrated her 49th birthday but has been told by a doctor that she has the bones of an 80-year-old.
Like the offspring of thousands of other unsuspecting servicemen who were sent to Christmas Island in the South Pacific during the 1950s and 60s, her health has been blighted which, she thinks, is as direct result of the radiation poisoning he endured.
When she was 15 she developed viral rheumatoid arthritis and, as well as now suffering from the rare Dercum’s disease which causes painful lumps, she has a degenerative disease in her spine with osteoporosis.
“I found that 17 children from nine veterans had spinal fusion surgery, that’s an excessive amount as far as I’m concerned but how do you prove it? There is no test that would prove beyond all reasonable doubt in a court of law that this is as a result,” said Miss Grigg who has no siblings.
Her father, Roy Grigg, an engineer with the 73 Christmas Island Squadron, could have witnessed the four Grapple Z explosions in 1958 and helped clear up after the big Grapple Y bomb earlier that year. He died of aggressive bone cancer in 2001 at the age of 64.
“When he was sweeping up sand from buildings he would breathe it in, dad said he would eat his ‘sandwiches’. He swam in the lagoon and he ate the fish but it was all radiated,” added Miss Grigg who has set up Facebook support group, Fallout.
Together with the British Nuclear Test Veteran’s Association she took part in a march in November when a petition with 5,500 signatures was handed into 10 Downing Street asking for the bomb test victims’ contribution to be properly recognised and for a benevolent fund to be set up to support future generations.
The issue, led by MP John Baron which has attracted the support of Lord Neil Kinnock, was debated recently in the House of Commons but the Government has yet to acknowledge that health problems were linked to nuclear testing.
Miss Grigg, call centre worker in Middlesbrough, added: “If I’d had children the likelihood is I could have had deformed babies or children that could have looked healthy initially. It is like Russian roulette. We need justice.”
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