Daughters Seek Former Workmates Of Asbestos Cancer Mother

Appeal Launched In Relation To Battle For Justice

01.07.2011

The devastated daughters of a woman who died from mesothelioma are appealing for their mother’s former work colleagues to come forward to help in her family’s battle for justice.

Devoted mother of two and grandmother of five Pat (Patricia) Sharman, of North Woolwich, was 82 when she died in March 2009 from mesothelioma - a cancer caused by exposure to deadly asbestos dust.

Now her daughters, Janis Pope, age 56, of Hornchurch, Essex , and Maria Atkinson, age 49, of Herongate, Essex and their lawyer, Caroline Pinfold, asbestos specialist at Irwin Mitchell solicitors in London, are appealing for people who may have worked with Pat at the sugar factory in Silvertown, London, owned by Tate and Lyle, to get in touch.

Caroline said: “Patricia – known by many of her family and friends as Pat – began work for Tate and Lyle as a glue maker, which was used for product packaging, from around 1942 to 1949 when she was just 14.

“Before she died, Pat recalled her times working at the factory when she also packed sugar cubes and would sweep the floors, which she remembers being thick with dust from the machines and pipes as well as sugar.  She was certain the pipes were lagged with asbestos. 

“The sad fact is that many workers in the 1940s were exposed to asbestos through no fault of their own as they weren’t warned of its dangers or provided safety equipment such as masks. These workers often went on to develop serious, debilitating health problems in later life as was tragically the case for Pat.

“We are very keen to talk to anyone with information about working at Silvertown sugar factory during the time Pat was there, and are keen to find out more about how she may have come into contact with asbestos and working conditions there.”

Commenting on her family’s ordeal, Pat’s daughter, Janis, said: “When mum was diagnosed with mesothelioma we were all in a state of complete shock, we didn’t expect the work she’d done so many years before to come back to haunt us.

“Before her diagnosis mum was so independent, she lived on her own, did all of her  own shopping and cleaning , and went on holiday with her friends. She looked and acted much younger than her years and it was heartbreaking to see her being robbed of her independence toward the end of her life when she moved into a care home as she couldn’t look after herself anymore.”

She continues: “Mum worked hard all her life to provide for her family, and deserved to enjoy her twilight years with us, we all miss her terribly. All we can hope for now are answers, and for justice to be done, so we can try to move on with our lives as best we can.”

Caroline adds: “Thousands of people die from mesothelioma every year as a result of negligence many years ago by their employers even though the dangers of asbestos were known from at least the early part of the last century.

“It’s unacceptable that anyone should be put in danger through just doing a day’s work and we will fight for justice for each and every client who falls victim to this dreadful disease.”

Anyone who can help with information is asked to contact Caroline Pinfold, at Irwin Mitchell’s London office on 0370 1500 100 or email caroline.pinfold@irwinmitchell.com