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Tributes to university lecturer

PUBLISHED: 05:33 27 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

A FATHER-of-two who battled against a long illness to become a university lecturer died after contracting a killer disease while working at a tool-making factory in Essex.

A FATHER-of-two who battled against a long illness to become a university lecturer died after contracting a killer disease while working at a tool-making factory in Essex.

Mark Turner, 39, breathed in particles of tungsten carbide dust while milling and grinding tools and clearing out hoppers at Titman's Tip Tools in Clacton, an inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court was told yesterday.

As a result, he contracted the lung disease, giant cell pneumonitis, which was diagnosed in 1991, the inquest was told.

Mr Turner died at Middlesex Hospital on January 19, this year.

Coroner Sir Paul Knapman recorded a verdict of death by industrial disease.

At the time of his death, Mr Turner, of Clacton, was studying for a PhD and lecturing in the accountancy and financial management department at Essex University. He began his studies after he became ill.

Last night his wife, Claire, said: "I want people to know Mark didn't have a weakness. He wasn't a poorly person. He got an industrial disease from working at Titman's. Mark wasn't putting it on."

She added: "Out of adversity Mark turned his life around. He loved his family. He loved his house. He just didn't get time to enjoy it."

On doctor's orders Mr Turner stopped working at Titman's. He went back to college and did an A-level, before going to Essex University, where he got a first class honours degree in accountancy and financial management.

He took an MSc, and got it with distinction and a prize for being the top student. He had nearly finished his PhD, which was about rail companies post privatisation.

"He was very shy. He had a very good sense of humour. He was always joking. He was an excellent dad," said Mrs Turner.

The couple had been together since 1982 and had two children, Lily, ten, and Henry, nine.

Professor Prem Sikka , who was supervising Mr Turner's PhD, paid tribute to Mr Turner and said the university is going to set up a Mark Turner prize for academic achievement.

"Mark was a wonderful human being in every way. He was very considerate and very, very capable and humble with it," said Prof Sikka.

Mr Turner's mother, Serena, also of Clacton, said: "Mark was a good son. He was a good dad to his children. Although he was really very ill, he never moaned. He turned his life around."

In 1995, Mr Turner took out a court action and reached a settlement against Titman's Tip Tools. No-one from the company was available to comment yesterday.


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