Labourer Speaks Of Devastation At Cancer Diagnosis

Expert Lawyers Appeal To Former Colleagues To Help With Case

26.07.2012

A former labourer who was sent to work at the Vauxhall Motors plant in Luton is asking his former colleagues to get in touch to help in his battle for justice after being diagnosed with an asbestos related lung cancer.

‘Devastated’ Robert Wells, 74, remembers coming into contact with deadly asbestos dust and fibres whilst he worked with other engineers at the motor firm’s head office in Luton in the 1960s.

Now Industrial illness specialists at Irwin Mitchell representing him would like to speak to anyone who may have information about asbestos at the company and the working practices of his employers Matthew Hall Ltd.

Robert, who lives in Kedington in Cambridgeshire with his partner June Bradford, began suffering from a chesty cough in November last year and was diagnosed with having lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure just weeks later. In February he had surgery to remove part of his right lung but doctors can do little more to contain the cancer.

He said: “I used to help the heating and ventilation engineers who worked for Matthew Hall Ltd to fit heaters in the roof space at Vauxhall Motors and I remember mixing and applying asbestos whilst I was there as insulation.

“I was never warned of the dangers of working with asbestos so when I started suffering chest pains and a bad cough last November I never thought it would be as a result of something from so long ago.

“When I was diagnosed as having asbestos related lung cancer June and I just couldn’t believe it, it was devastating. It seems so unfair that something I came into contact with through no fault of my own many years ago is now destroying my life. I used to love gardening but now I don’t have any energy to do it and it’s heartbreaking to know I’m on borrowed time.

“I hope that my former colleagues at Matthew Hall Ltd and anyone who I worked with at Vauxhall will get in touch as any information, no matter how small, will help provide me with much needed answers about what has happened. As I’m becoming more ill I also need an increasing amount of care so getting the case settled will help to fund this.”

Helen Ashton, an asbestos disease expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office is representing Robert. She said: “Mr Wells can remember working with asbestos insulation when he was employed by Matthew Hall Ltd and sent to work at Vauxhall in Luton, yet he was never given any protective clothing or warned about the dangers of the material.

“He is now very poorly and desperately wants answers for himself and his partner about how this has happened and why he is suffering. Any evidence will mean we can settle the case quickly for Mr Wells and ensure his loved ones have financial security in the future.

“Employers knew about the dangers of asbestos from the early part of the last century so there is no excuse for workers not being given protective equipment in the 60s and 70s.”

Anyone who can help with any information is asked to contact Helen Ashton at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 3939 or email helen.ashton@irwinmitchell.com