Ipswich Town's Colin Harper died from asbestos-related disease

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image captionColin Harper, right, played for Ipswich Town for more than a decade

A former footballer died from an asbestos-related disease, an inquest heard.

Colin Harper, who played for Ipswich Town for more than a decade, died from mesothelioma on 29 March, aged 71.

The hearing in Ipswich was told he had been exposed to asbestos when he worked as an apprentice joiner and carpenter before he became a professional footballer.

A conclusion of death through industrial disease was recorded.

'Impossible to avoid'

Assistant Suffolk coroner Dr Dan Sharpstone said Harper had cut asbestos with a circular saw when he was an apprentice.

He said it "generated a lot of dust", which was "impossible to avoid".

The hearing was told Harper was never warned of the dangers of asbestos and was never given a mask to wear.

He had been undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment before he was transferred to St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich for end of life care, where he died.

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image captionHarper played under Sir Bobby Robson during his time at Ipswich Town

It was heard he worked as self-employed builder after he retired from football, but he was not exposed to asbestos at that time.

Harper played 176 times for Ipswich in an 11-year stay at the club, from 1966 to 1977.

He was in the side that lifted the Second Division title in 1967-68 and was granted a testimonial in 1975.

The defender competed in Europe under Sir Bobby Robson and was part of the team which beat Real Madrid in the 1973 Uefa Cup.

He also had spells on loan at Grimsby and Cambridge before joining Port Vale in 1977.

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