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Killed by the Mines He Fought to Protect

Killed by the Mines He Fought to Protect

A Cornishman who spent his working life battling for the rights of miners has died at the hands of the industry he loved so much.

Jeff Parsons (Thorne), 62, lost his battle against lung cancer on October 29, an illness brought on by his exposure to radon during his life underground.

He started mining in 1969 at the age of 19 at South Crofty and, like many miners of his generation, spent time at Pendarves, Geevor, Wellington and Wheal Jane. He even plied his trade abroad for a period, finishing his career back at South Crofty.

He was passionate about his job and the people he worked with.

He was a union representative and helped organise the miners' march on London when local mines were faced with closure. In 1986, he gave evidence to a select committee of MPs at the House of Commons which resulted in a £25 million grant that kept Wheal Jane and South Crofty open.

Mr Parsons found himself on the front page of The West Briton when the miners' victory was reported on August 11, 1986. But ultimately, it was the industry he loved so dearly that killed him.

Kelly Thorne, one of his three daughters, said: "Dad was diagnosed last December, when it was already terminal. He had three months' chemotherapy starting in January, but it was only to try to extend his life by a couple of years.

"We were hoping he would have a period when he was well for a time, but he never had that.

"Mining was his life, he loved it. I asked him when he was ill if he regretted becoming a miner, and he said, 'absolutely not'."

Mr Parsons, who was born in St Agnes but raised his family in Camborne, had no idea that his exposure to radon gas had affected him until his diagnosis with terminal type one lung cancer.

During his last few months, he set up an internet "blogspot" to talk about issues that were important to him, including encouraging older miners to have, at least, regular chest X-rays.

Miss Thorne added: "I want former miners to be more proactive in keeping an eye on their own health."

View this article: http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Killed-mines-fought-protect/story-13873328-detail/story.html