Tameside Man Speaks Out In Support Of National Awareness Day

Lawyers Help To Settle Asbestos Case

01.07.2011

A Tameside man ‘devastated’ by a diagnosis of mesothelioma has today spoken out in support of Action Mesothelioma Day (Friday July 1st).

Devoted husband and dad of one Jack Sutton, 74, came into contact with asbestos whilst working for Lynton Caravans in Droylsden from the early to mid 1960s and again in 1976. 

His lawyer, asbestos related disease specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, Katrina London, who this week settled the case against the caravan manufacturer, is urging employers across the UK to consider the often ‘fatal consequences’ of inadequate health and safety standards in the workplace in a bid to prevent future suffering as a result of asbestos, or other work related illness.

After nearly 40 years working as a woodcutter/ joiner, Jack hung up his tools in the 90s planning to enjoy a long retirement alongside wife Margaret, 69, in a caravan in Prestatyn, Wales.

But in November 2010, he received the devastating news that after years of negligent exposure to asbestos at work he had developed mesothelioma, a terminal cancer caused by exposure to the deadly dust.

Commenting on his ordeal, Jack said: “For periods of time in the 60s and 70s, I worked at Lynton Caravans in Droylsden, helping to make static and touring caravans.  My job of woodcutter involved cutting asbestos board that was used to fireproof the caravans.

“I remember the workshop being filled with clouds of dust as I cut the asbestos boards to sizes needed to fit behind stoves, and that my clothes and hair were often thick with white dust. 

“I was never given equipment or clothing to protect me from the asbestos or told about the dangers of exposure to the dust.”

He continues “I was always so active before my diagnosis; I used to love taking a walk along the beach with Margaret and going for lunch, and tending to pots in our garden, but now my chest hurts, and I struggle with my breathing. It’s completely devastated me and my family, and turned our lives upside down.

“Such a disregard for my safety and the safety of those who worked with me is a disgrace. I only hope that by speaking out today other employers take the role of protecting their workers more seriously, and that no one else should have to suffer as we have.”

Katrina continues: “The circumstance in which Jack was exposed to asbestos is simply unacceptable and, sadly, he is not alone. The latest statistics show that more than 2000 people died from mesothelioma in 2008, and thousands more died as a result of other occupational cancers and diseases as a result of workplace exposure.”