Testimonies from those infected and affected by the contaminated blood scandal have been shown to the long-awaited public inquiry.Emotional video accounts lasting more than half-an-hour described the toll on all aspects of their lives as they spoke to the camera.The former judge leading the inquiry, which is set to last two-and-a-half years, has suggested tens of thousands of Britons could have been infected.The public probe will consider the treatment of thousands of people in the 1970s and 1980s who were given blood products infected with hepatitis viruses and HIV, and the impact this has had.Addressing the hundreds of people who attended the start of the Infected Blood Inquiry in London on Monday, chairman Sir Brian Langstaff said: “It is a truly sobering thought that if some of the claims are well-founded – and it is for this inquiry to find out if they are – there may yet be many thousands more who do not feel well, but have not yet been told that the reason for this is that they suffer from Hepatitis C.”Sir Brian said it is estimated that the number of infected could go far beyond 25,000 adding that there is a “real chance that these estimates may prove right”.He added: “A sobering thought that the consequences of what was done then may be continuing to cause death even now.” Anthony Farrugia – both father and two uncles have diedA whole generation of haemophiliacs in Anthony Farrugia’s family have been wiped out as a result of the scandal – his father died of Aids, and he also lost two uncles.”It is important in that the public are going to be finding out what we have been through,” said the 46-year-old from St Neots, Cambridge. Alan Burgess holds a photograph of himself with his children in 1986 just before his diagnosis with HIV and Hepatitis C Michelle Tolley found out in 2015 she had Hepatitis C after a blood transfusion years earlierCredit:Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph HIV sufferer – ‘We were silenced… and we kept quiet’With her identity hidden, one woman said she became infected with HIV through her husband who was a haemophiliac, and who had been given contaminated blood.She said when they found out they were left stunned and devastated.”This was the mid-1980s and the climate of fear, discrimination and stigma associated with HIV and Aids was horrendous,” she added. “I am thrilled that we are getting this opportunity today to flood the news channels, which we have not had before.”I think this is the loudest our voice has ever been, and obviously this is only the start of it.”Lauren Palmer – parents died just eight days apartLauren Palmer, 33, lost both her parents in 1993 when she was nine years old.Stephen and his wife Barbara died just eight days apart, victims of a health scandal which saw around 7,500 people infected with deadly blood-bourne diseases.Lauren’s father was given the infected product Factor VIII to treat his haemophilia and he passed the deadly diseases to his wife.Speaking from the opening of the inquest, Lauren, from Bristol, described the mood among the 300 or so victims and families gathered at the opening of the inquiry.She said: “It’s been really beautiful, really touching with pictures of victims and videos with people’s families talking about their experiences and what they’ve been through.”Lauren has been campaigning with the organisation Factor 8 to force the government to hold and inquiry into the deaths.Widow – ‘It is like knocking on a door and it never opening’One widow revealed how her husband John, who was a severe haemophiliac, died of Aids in 1994 and also had Hepatitis C. “We coped the best we could. We were silenced, and we kept quiet.” “I feel we have been treated very badly,” she said. “Nobody has listened to us over the years, it is like knocking on a door and it never opening.”She told how the news completely changed their marriage, with life becoming “very difficult” as a result.Hep C victim – ‘I stood at a motorway bridge to jump off’One man said he was given Factor VIII blood products as an eight-year-old child for a swollen knee and was misdiagnosed with haemophilia.It was not until he was 43 years old that he found out he had been infected with Hepatitis C.”When they told me what they had done to me, I stood at a motorway bridge to jump off it – basically, that has been my life ever since,” he added.”I lost everything, I lost my whole life the day I found out – everything ended.” ‘I lost everything’, said the unnamed victim who had been infected with Hepatitis C “My future has been lost, my last 31 years have been cruelly snatched away from me. It has a knock-on effect to the affected people – my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my colleagues – that ripple effect really is much wider.”We need the general public to know and understand exactly what has happened and why it happened.”Alan Burgess – ‘I hope I am still here to see justice done’“It can’t come quickly enough,” said Alan Burgess, who is infected with both HIV and Hepatitis C.The 60-year-old added: “We’ve been waiting for so long and so many people have already died while we were waiting – I lost a friend just a couple of weeks ago.“For me, I don’t know how long I’ve got. I take a cocktail of drugs every day to stay alive. I just hope I am still here to see justice done.” Ms Tolley, from Sparham, Norfolk, said the scandal has stolen her life and that she fears a liver scan next month may reveal she has cancer.”I feel we have been given a death sentence without committing any crime. I have got a death sentence hanging over my head,” she said In their own words: Blood scandal victims’ storiesMichelle Tolley – ‘Death sentence is hanging over my head’Now 53, Michelle Tolley was infected following a blood transfusion after the birth of her child in 1987 and another in 1991 – she eventually found out in 2015 that she had Hepatitis C.”Anyone who may be responsible… they need to be held accountable and prosecuted if needs be – I strongly believe that,” said the mother of four.”People need to know that this tragedy happened,” she said. “This is the worst tragedy in the history of the NHS and it must never ever happen again, absolutely never.”Describing how she wakes up every day feeling as though she is “waiting to die”, she said she thought seeing the start of the inquiry would be a day that would never come – and worries she might not see it end.Feeling “very positive” about the inquiry and that prosecutions could be achieved, she added: “I have great, great faith that they will leave no stone unturned.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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