Lung cancer campaigner assaulted by ‘stupid and intoxicated’ football fan

Veteran Fred Minall, who hails from Wheathampstead and is dying of lung cancer, was assaulted while

Veteran Fred Minall, who hails from Wheathampstead and is dying of lung cancer, was assaulted while on a steam train trip - Credit: Photo supplied

A ‘stupid and intoxicated’ football fan has been lambasted after assaulting a lung cancer sufferer who has been fighting for fair compensation for veterans.

Feisty Fred Minall, formerly of Wheathampstead, has been spearheading a campaign alongside other residents who hail from this district, to urge the government to give veterans fair compensation in-line with civilian counterparts when, like him, they develop fatal asbestos-related lung cancer.

The 74 year old has featured recently in the Herts Advertiser as he is facing a death sentence 60 years after working with asbestos-ridden material while in the Navy, and is concerned for other veterans in this district.

Fellow campaigner Len Lambe, also a former Wheathampstead resident who attended St. Helen’s CE Primary School in the 1940s, said the assault occurred when he, his wife and Fred had disembarked from a special steam train visit to York on Saturday (13).

He said: “Fred was ahead of us, and we saw a group of people stooped over someone on the ground on the crowded platform. It was Fred, looking very pale and sweaty. I thought he had fainted. He was ranting at a man, about 35.”

Len said that as the man left the train, he approached Fred, pushed and then ‘hugged him’, and he collapsed onto the platform.

The man apologised to Fred, but a fuming Len “remonstrated with him, calling him an idiot, and told him that Fred was a dying man and he had ruined his special day out”.

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Fred, who described the man as “certainly drunk” decided against lodging a complaint with the police as he wanted to spend his time visiting York rather than filling out forms with officers.

Len said the ‘disturbing’ incident appeared to be an “example of stupid, exuberant behaviour from an intoxicated football fan. Following the incident he is feeling a little sore [but] he is keeping every day as busy as possible.”

The assault in York occurred two days after a letter to the Prime Minister and petition was handed into 10 Downing Street by a group including campaigner Peter Harbour, a former St Albans resident, asking for equal treatment for afflicted veterans.

While the government recently announced that veterans diagnosed with terminal lung cancer mesothelioma on or after December 16, 2015, would receive compensation, campaigners want all veterans, regardless of the date of their diagnosis, to be treated equally, “as is morally required under the Armed Forces Covenant because people are dying”.