Bath Man In Search For Former Workmates After Cancer Diagnosis

Ex-Colleagues Urged To Provide Key Information

12.10.2010

A former telecoms engineer, who has been diagnosed with an asbestos related cancer, believes his work installing phone lines may have exposed him to lethal asbestos dust.

In May this year, 82 year old Bernard John Mottram from Bath was given the shocking news that he has Mesothelioma, an incurable asbestos related cancer. The former British Telecom engineer now fears he may not live long enough to celebrate his Diamond Wedding anniversary in September 2011.

Now, a workplace illness expert at Irwin Mitchell, who has launched legal action on Mr Mottram’s behalf, is hoping that his former British Telecom workmates will come forward with key information to help in his battle for justice.

As a technician working for British Telecom from 1970 to 1991, Mr Mottram was required to install new telephone lines at old office blocks, factories, schools, hospitals, as well as Army and Air Force bases.  He recalls regularly working around asbestos lagged pipe-work and encountering asbestos fire-stops. Mr Mottram also remembers drilling through asbestos sheets to run cables.

Mr Mottram recalls: “At the time, I was not provided with any form of facial mask or protective breathing apparatus or warnings about the dangers of asbestos, during my time as a Technician for BT.  I retired when I was 63 as part of a redundancy programme.”

Satpal Singh, a workplace illness expert with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors in Bristol, is representing Mr Mottram. He says: “Until earlier this year, Mr Mottram had been very fit and active. The diagnosis of cancer has been a huge blow to him and his family and in particular, they are shocked that his illness is most likely to have been caused as a result of being exposed to asbestos at work.

“Sadly, Mr Mottram’s case is not isolated. For more than ten years I have acted for technicians who have been exposed to asbestos during employment with British Telecom.  It is always very sad to learn of such exposure, particularly at a time when the law required employers to have taken better steps to protect them.
        
“As the delay between exposure to asbestos dust and the onset of symptoms can be 20 years or longer, workers like Mr Mottram, are only now making the shocking discovery that their health has been affected as a result.”

Mr Mottram first became unwell earlier this year, when in February he began to suffer from breathlessness and chest pain.  His GP referred him to the Royal United Hospital (RUH) for further investigations.  Mr Mottram’s breathing continued to deteriorate and he was admitted to the RUH for scans and a biopsy.  He was subsequently diagnosed with Mesothelioma.  
 
Mr Mottram added: “My wife, Christine and I have three children, eight grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.  We had been looking forward to celebrating our Diamond Wedding anniversary next year, but this incurable disease means that we don’t know if I will be around then.”

In order to help Mr Mottram’s fight for justice, former British Telecom workers are asked to contact Satpal Singh at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors via email on: satpal.singh@irwinmitchell.com  or on 0370 1500 100.