Mum Speaks Of Devastation At Cancer Diagnosis That Will Rob Her Of Family Life

Asbestos Experts Appeal To Former Colleagues To Come Forward

09.11.2012

A mum-of-four who has been given the heartbreaking news she is suffering from a terminal asbestos-related disease is appealing to her former colleagues for help as she launches a desperate battle for justice.

Lorraine Berry, nee Trundle, from Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire, has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, aged just 48, and says she is struggling to come to terms with the fact she will be robbed of family life because she wasn’t protected from deadly asbestos dust while she worked.

The cancer develops in the lining of the lungs and is caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. It is more commonly diagnosed in people in their 60s 70s and 80s as it can take up to 50 years to develop, but is aggressive and incurable no matter what age it strikes.

Lorraine, who is married to Jason, has a 13-year-old daughter and three children from a previous relationship, has instructed expert asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors to help find much needed answers about why she is now terminally ill and to gain financial security for her family after her death.

She worked as an office administration assistant for property development company Pinecraven Ltd from 1983 to August 1985 and remembers being exposed to asbestos there when she was based in a temporary office in the old Rye Street Hospital in Bishop’s Stortford while it was being converted into flats.

Irwin Mitchell Solicitors are now appealing to any of her former colleagues to get in touch as they may hold vital evidence about the presence of asbestos and working practices at the firm.

Lorraine, said: “We’re all absolutely devastated by my diagnosis and are finding it so hard to come to terms with it because it’s so unexpected. I’ve always been very active doing pilates, gym and taking the dog for long walks and to now have cancer because of something that is not my fault makes me angry and heartbroken.

“To know that I will miss out on so many important events, such as my youngest daughter going to university and my children getting married is impossible to come to terms with. I’m being robbed of my family life.

“The only time I can remember coming into contact with asbestos is at the start of my career when I worked for Pinecraven and we were based in an old hospital which the firm was developing.

“When I stepped out of the office I was straight onto the building site and there was dust everywhere which was kicked up by the regeneration work going on around me. Part of my job was to clean the office and this was also always dusty because we had the window open.

“The dust coated the window sill and was on all the furniture and the workmen were always in and out of the office. I was never warned about the dangers of asbestos or given a protective mask to wear.”

Lorraine, who was working as a finance manager before she became ill, began suffering from breathlessness and a dull ache in her shoulder earlier this year. At the beginning of April she went to her GP who referred her to a chest physician and after numerous tests she was given the heartbreaking diagnosis at Hertford Hospital that she was suffering from mesothelioma.

She is now undergoing intensive chemotherapy which is hoped will prolong her life but will sadly not cure her.

Rosemary Giles, an industrial illness expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office who is representing Lorraine, said: “This is a tragic case and it is rare for a person so young to be diagnosed with this horrendous disease.

“Employers have known about the dangers of asbestos since the 60s and 70s so there’s no excuse for employees not to have been warned about the dangers of the dust and provided with protective masks.

“Lorraine had worked her way up to become a successful business woman and she and her husband were working hard to save for their children’s futures and a happy retirement.

“She has been struck down with this horrific illness in the prime of her life and rightly wants answers about how this has happened and to know that her family will be financially secure once she is gone.

“I’m appealing to anyone who worked for Pinecraven Ltd between 1983 and 1985 to get in touch as they could help bring Lorraine the justice she desperately wants.”

Lorraine added: “My family and I are desperate for answers so I pray that anyone with any information, no matter how small, gets in touch as it could help us come to terms with why I have got this terrible disease.”

Anyone with information should contact Rosemary Giles on 0370 1500 100 or email rosemary.giles@irwinmitchell.com