Ex-Tool Maker Speaks Of Devastation At Cancer Diagnosis

Expert Lawyers Appeal To Former Colleagues For Help

11.06.2012

A former tool maker and school teacher who performed for the Queen with his folk dancing troop is appealing to his former colleagues for help after being diagnosed with a fatal form of cancer from being exposed to the deadly dust.

Alan Corkett who now lives in Nether Stowey, Bridgwater, has been left devastated by his diagnosis of mesothelioma – an aggressive cancer in the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres – and hopes his former colleagues can help his battle for justice.

The 75-year-old has contacted specialist industrial illness experts at Irwin Mitchell for help and is appealing for anyone who worked for electrical manufacturers Mullard Radio Valve Co.Ltd at their Hackbridge Factory in Surrey to get in touch as they may hold vital information.

Before his diagnosis Alan was a well known folk dancer, caller and musician (accordionist) and played in bands across the world, performed on TV and had even played for the Queen at Buckingham Palace.  He was a keen CTC cyclist touring England and Europe.

Helen Grady, an asbestos specialist from Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office is representing Alan. She said: “Alan Corkett was exposed to asbestos during his time working at the Mullard Radio Valve Co, Ltd at the Hackbridge site from 1953 to 1958 and, when he returned to the factory between 1961 to 1963 following service in the RAF.

“He started out as a young apprentice tool maker and was then taken on as a skilled tool maker.   He recalls asbestos being used on parts of some of the machines that handled hot metal, but despite this, he was never warned of the dangers of handling the deadly material or provided with a protective mask. 

“He remembers having to cut asbestos board using a saw in order to make these small parts for the different machines.  He then had to fit the asbestos parts to the machines and filed down the asbestos during fitting. He remembers asbestos in the furnaces in the heat treatment department and also using asbestos mittens and mats. Alan did not wear a face mask when working with asbestos and he was not warned of the dangers.

“I am appealing to anyone who used to work at the factory at the same time as Mr Corkett to get in touch as they may hold vital information about the company’s working practices that will help his case.

“The dangers of significant exposure to asbestos were known to employers from at least the early part of the last century and I hope with help from Alan’s former colleagues, he and his family will see some justice for his suffering.”

Alan, who also worked as a teacher in later life, moved with his wife Christine from their home in Surrey to Bridgwater in 1998 to enjoy their retirement together.

But in November 2011 he was given the devastating news he was suffering from mesothelioma after suffering from a persistent cough for six months.

Alan said: “When my wife and I were given the diagnosis we just couldn’t believe it. I’d been healthy and active all my life so it just seemed very unfair that something I worked with so long ago now means I have very little time left with my family.  I have two grown up children and one small grandson, aged 18 months.  I am now spending as much quality time as I can with my grandson.

“I now can’t enjoy walking or swimming like I used to as I just feel so poorly. I’ve always taken care of myself and being fit has always been very important but that has been taken away from me.

“I hope people do come forward with any information, no matter how small, so I can try and ensure my family are provided for once I am gone.”

Anyone who can help with any information is asked to contact Helen Grady at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email helen.grady@irwinmitchell.com