Search For Ex-Workmates After Keighley Man Dies From Asbestos Exposure

Industrial Disease Experts At Irwin Mitchell Helping With Investigation


The devoted wife of a man who died from an asbestos-related cancer is appealing for his former work colleagues to help specialist lawyers investigate why he was allowed to come into contact with the deadly dust.

Barbara Worden lost her husband Robert, known as Bob, on 10 November 2009 age 77 after a two-year battle with the debilitating disease asbestosis, which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Barbara, 69, of Oakworth in Keighley, believes her husband came into contact with the poisonous substance while working as a skilled moulder at George Hattersley and Sons, Sealand Engineering, Jonas Wells Ltd, Prince Smith and Stells and Marston (IMI) Radiators.

She has now instructed expert industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office in her battle for justice and to find more information about the working conditions at the Keighley-based companies, where he worked between 1961 up to the late 1980s.

Ian Bailey, a specialist asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, said: “Barbara is still coming to terms with losing Bob to this horrific asbestos-related disease. In 2010, about 1,000 people died or were diagnosed with asbestos, according to the Health and Safety Executive.* It’s a devastating terminal illness and can be very distressing for the victims and their families. 

“To help Barbara get to the bottom of why her husband was exposed to harmful asbestos we urgently need to speak to anyone who worked at the same companies as Bob during his 30-year career to find out more about the protection he was offered.”

Barbara, who had been married to Bob since 2005, said he first showed symptoms of asbestosis in December 2007 when he started struggling to walk up the hills near their home, despite being a keen walker.

In June 2008 he suffered two blackouts and doctors diagnosed an irregular heartbeat and he had a pacemaker fitted. But Bob continued to feel breathless and just a month after his heart operation he was taken back to Airedale Hospital for more tests. Doctors confirmed he was suffering from asbestosis, caused by exposure to asbestos.

Bob’s condition deteriorated quickly in the three months that followed and he was taken to Manorlands Hospice where specialist nurses could care for him. He passed away after just one night at the hospice and Barbara was unable to reach him in time to say goodbye.

Barbara said: “Anyone who has lost a loved one to this disease will know that it is an excruciatingly painful one, for which there is no cure. Bob had terrible problems breathing and he’d get stressed out and frustrated about not being able to do the things he loved like walking and gardening. He was a keen walker and could easily manage 12 miles a day before he got ill. 

“I still really miss Bob and always will but I’m confident that we can get the justice he deserves with the help of local people who worked at the same companies he did.”

Anyone with information should contact Ian Bailey on 0370 1500 100 or email


If you have developed asbestosis following exposure to asbestos at work, our expert asbestosis claims team could help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.