Widow’s Battle For Justice Following Gloucester Worker’s Asbestos Cancer Death

Search On For Husband's Former Colleagues

21.10.2010

The widow of a former Gloucester worker, who died after being exposed to asbestos, has launched a search for former colleagues who may be able to help in her battle for justice.

78 year old Sydney Stevens from Burghill in Herefordshire, first became unwell in March 2009. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable asbestos related cancer of the chest lining in July and sadly passed away just over two months later on 6th October 2009.

An inquest into Mr Stevens’ death, held on 12th March 2010, before HM Coroner for Hereford, recorded a verdict of industrial disease.

Now his family are determined to fight for justice and have launched a search to find ex-workmates who may be able to provide additional information regarding working conditions at the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Ltd.

The firm, which ceased trading in the late 1980s, was responsible for manufacturing railway carriages and other rolling stock for the UK and overseas markets and was once a major employer in the Gloucester area.

It is believed that Mr Stevens was employed with the company in the late 1960s and as part of his work was required to cut up sheets of asbestos which were used to insulate the carriages.

Mr Steven’s widow, June explained: “Syd and I first met in the 1970s, some time after he had finished working at Gloucester Carriage Company so I never really knew what went on at the time. It was only after he was diagnosed with cancer that he spoke about it to our son-in-law.

“Syd had always been a very fit and active man. Even in his retirement he always kept himself busy gardening, walking, making things, or doing DIY around the house. He also had a good circle of friends and neighbours whom he regularly helped out with gardening and other jobs they needed doing.

“It was terrible seeing him slowly succumb to cancer. At first we had no idea what was wrong with him when he started to suffer from breathlessness in March 2009. His condition deteriorated very quickly and by the time he was finally diagnosed with mesothelioma in July he was in agony and was coughing up blood.

“It makes me very angry to think that my husband suffered so much and died as a result of something he was exposed to at work.”

Kim Barrett, a workplace illness expert with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, is representing Mrs Stevens in her legal battle. She explained: “Even in the 1950s and 60s employers knew the risks associated with asbestos but Mr Stevens was not provided with a face mask nor warned of the dangers. We do know that asbestos was routinely used during the manufacture of railway carriages at this time as it helped to insulate them.

“It would be particularly helpful to hear from any former Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company workers who can recall working practices in the late 1960s or who worked alongside Syd Stevens.”

Anyone who can assist with information should contact Kim Barrett at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors on 0370 1500 100 or contact kim.barrett@irwinmitchell.com