Birmingham Woman In Search For Ex Woolies Workers Following Asbestos Cancer Diagnosis

Pensioner Diagnosed With Mesothelioma


A Birmingham pensioner who has been diagnosed with an asbestos related cancer is hoping former Woolworths work colleagues will come forward with key information to help in her battle for compensation.

71 year old Patricia Hinckley from Selly Oak was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest lining, in October 2009.

It is believed that Mrs Hinckley may have been exposed to asbestos dust whilst working for the Harborne branch of Woolworths, where she worked as a store-room assistant from 1953 to 1974. The pipe work within the store is thought to have been lagged with asbestos and as boxes were moved around the store-room and bumped against the pipe work and walls, asbestos fibres were released into the air.

Mrs Hinckley, who has no children, but lives with her 95-year-old mother, Nora, was widowed in 1980 and lost her second partner, Ray, just two years ago as a result of lung cancer.

Patricia commented: "I've always been a fit and active person. Although I have diabetes and arthritis, they've never stopped me from getting on with my life and I'd never had any really serious health problems prior to last year.

"I went to my GP to have a routine flu jab but the nurse noticed that I was suffering from a cough and referred me for a chest x-ray.

"The results revealed that I had a mass on my lung and I was told it looked very much like lung cancer. I was so shocked by this news. It was the last thing I expected, being a life-long non-smoker."

Further tests, including a lung biopsy confirmed that Mrs Hinckley was in fact suffering from mesothelioma and was told by doctors that her cancer was most likely to have resulted from exposure to asbestos.

Kim Barrett, a workplace illness expert with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, is representing Mrs Hinckley. She said: "Patricia  is one of a growing number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, whose job is not usually associated with heavy exposure to asbestos, including teachers, hospital staff, shop workers and even family members who have been exposed to asbestos dust on their loved one's work clothes.

"Patricia has just finished her sixth course of chemotherapy and is also the main carer for her elderly mother. Compensation will not redress the wrong that has been done, and sadly will not give Patricia her health back but in order to swiftly settle her case, it is important to hear from former Woolworths colleagues who have information about working practices at the High Street, Harborne store between 1953 and 1974. I am also keen to hear from any building, maintenance or repair workers who worked there at any point in the building's history and may have useful information."

Anyone able to assist should contact Kim Barrett at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors on 0370 1500 100 or email