A Midhurst mum, who has been described as the 'key to her family', died as a result of industrial disease arising from her husband's employment, an inquest heard today (Tuesday).
An inquest at Crawley Coroner’s Court heard that Easebourne mum-of-five Eileen Margaret Culpeck, 83, known as Peggy, was very fit in her younger years but her health deteriorated.
The coroner's officer Melanie Doyle said: "Eilleen was a book keeper and was married to a retired painter and decorator, who she lived with for more than 60 years. She loved gardening and she helped to run a hotel in Devon.
"They lived in London, Milton Keynes and Devon before moving to a bungalow in Fernhurst in in 1999 and then finally Easebourne.
"Eileen was very fit in her younger years but she developed arthritis meaning walking became hard for her. She had cancer ten years ago and had her womb removed. She also had a heart attack in 2018 and she was diabetic.
"On March 20, she woke up and could not get up to get to the bathroom. She was in a lot of pain was taken to St Richard's Hospital in Chichester. They did not know what was wrong with her. They thought she had a stroke."
The inquest heard that Eileen's health worsened in hospital and she became 'too frail to go to a nursing home'. She died at St Richard's on Tuesday, April 3 at 11.45am.
Eileen's husband Roy Culpeck worked with asbestos sheets on building sites, which were also fixed to their walls at home, the inquest heard.
Reading the compiled evidence, Ms Doyle added: "Eileen also used to wash her husband's work clothes. She could not recall asbestos exposure [but] no other natural diseases were apparent. A CT scan found that she had disseminated malignant melanoma of the right pleura."
Assistant coroner for West Sussex, Joanne Andrews, said the cause of death was exposure as a result of her husband's employment and recorded a conclusion of industrial disease before offering her condolences to the family, who were not present at the inquest.
She said: "I would like to take this opportunity to pass my sincerest condolences to the family at what must be a very difficult time.
"It sounds like Eileen was the key to her family."