Man's Asbestos Death Robs Him Of The Chance To Become Grandfather

Industrial Illness Experts At Irwin Mitchell Are Appealing For Former Colleagues To Shed Light On Where He Was Exposed To The Deadly Dust


The widow of a 54-year-old man has spoken of the “heartbreak” caused when her husband died from an asbestos-related lung cancer just six months before he was due to become a grandfather for the first time.

Andrew Ward, from Lower Wortley, Leeds, died from mesothelioma in March 2011 – eight months after being diagnosed with the incurable cancer of the lung lining.

His wife, Daryl, who was married to Andrew for 32 years, is now calling for her husband’s former colleagues to help with an investigation into where he was exposed to deadly asbestos fibres.

On Mrs Ward’s behalf, industrial illness experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell are now investigating conditions at William G Search Limited – a Leeds based company which leases out portacabins and other equipment.

The law firm believes Mr Ward may have been exposed to asbestos while working at the company as a hire controller, between 1978 and 1981.

Daryl said: “I’m totally devastated by Andrew’s death. It was horrifying to see the cancer take hold so quickly, and at such a young age for mesothelioma.

“Our daughter Leanne has given birth to her first child in October and it’s heartbreaking to know that Andrew has missed out on the chance to be a grandfather. It’s something he had always looked forward to.

“Nothing can bring Andrew back but I just want to get to the bottom of where and why he was exposed to asbestos. If anybody worked at the company during the same time as Andrew I urge them to come forward.”

As Hire Controller, Mr Ward would occasionally go in to the yard to check on the progress of alterations to the portacabins prior to despatch and if necessary would help with clearing up after the work had been carried out. Although this was dirty and dusty work he was never given any protective equipment.

Ian Toft, a specialist solicitor in the industrial illness team at Irwin Mitchell, is seeking to raise awareness of the risk of asbestos exposure to younger men, such as Mr Ward.

Mr Toft said: “Mesothelioma is a devastating form of cancer and sadly it is incurable. It is commonly associated with men in their late 60s and 70s who worked at factories in the 1950s and 1960s, but it is not only restricted to people of that age.

“The incubation period for mesothelioma is relatively long, and it often takes 20-30 years from when any exposure took place for mesothelioma to develop. At 54 Mr Ward was a relatively young victim, but we still see many cases involving victims who were exposed to asbestos during work in the 1970s and 1980s.

“If anybody remembers working with Mr Ward or believes they have information about conditions at William G Search during the period he worked there we urge them to come forward.”

Anybody who believes they may be able to help should contact Ian Toft on 0370 1500 100 or email

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure, our expert asbestos lung cancer solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.