Posted on May 24, 2014 by Lou Williams
Ray did so much in Queensland with support and raising awareness – thank you Ray – may you be at peace. Your fight will continue. Deepest sympathy to Helen and family xx ~ Lou
Leading asbestos safety advocate Raymond Colbert has passed away of asbestos disease aged 67.
Mr Colbert worked tirelessly on behalf of fellow disease sufferers for many years as secretary of the Asbestos Related Disease Support Society Queensland.
Among his greatest achievements was “Ray’s Ride”, where Mr Colbert travelled from Toowoomba to Brisbane in his motorised wheelchair to raise awareness of asbestos diseases mesothelioma and asbestosis and medical research funds.
The journey took Mr Colbert through the flood-affected Ipswich and Lockyer Valley regions in 2011.
“Ray, who was wheelchair bound and on oxygen 24 hours a day, took five days to complete the ride, battling the November heat and plenty of flies,” said Andrew Ramsay, the asbestos society’s vice president.
“He travelled along many rough roads through the towns of Grantham, Gatton, Laidley, Ipswich, and ended … in Brisbane.
“His journey also raised $60,000 in much needed donations to support Queensland sufferers of asbestos diseases.”
Mr Colbert was exposed to asbestos fibres while working for the Australian navy in his youth.
“I served in the engine rooms of the Royal Australian Navy aircraft carriers HMAS Melbourne and Sydney for nine years,” he once told The Queensland Times.
“When the planes would land on the Melbourne it would shake and asbestos fibres would fall, just like snow coming down.
“If you were going to be contaminated with it [asbestos] that was a good place to get it.”
Ray is survived by his wife Helen, sons Darrel, Carl and Christopher, and grandchildren Lucinda, Matthew and Emily.