‘Can You Help Us Get Justice?’ Asks Family Of Asbestos Victim

Expert Lawyers Appeal To Former Colleagues For Evidence

17.07.2013

By Helen MacGregor

The daughter of a former Birmingham maintenance worker who died of an asbestos-related cancer is appealing to his former colleagues to come forward with information as the family launches a battle for justice.

John Field, from Winson Green, died of mesothelioma, a cancer on the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to deadly dust in September 2011, less than a month after being diagnosed with the disease.

The 83-year-old’s devastated family instructed expert asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell in a battle for justice and the firm is now joining their calls for John’s former colleagues to get in touch as it is believed they may have vital evidence about the presence of asbestos and working conditions at two Birmingham companies.

The grandfather-of-one worked for the Midland Red Bus Company in the Bearwood area as a maintenance fitter in the early 1940s. He could remember being exposed to asbestos when he had to repair and re-lag the heating pipes and also when he carried out maintenance work on brake linings which contained the material for its heat resistant properties.

John could also remember working with asbestos during his employment with Jones and Rooke Ltd (which may previously have been known as Lawleys) when he worked as a maintenance fitter at their metal factories on Unit Street and Garrison Lane between 1949 and 1965.

 Industrial Disease expert Hayley Hill from Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said: “John was responsible for maintaining and relining furnaces with asbestos bricks when he worked at Jones and Rooke. Before his death he remembered it as a very dusty job but he was never warned of the dangers of asbestos at Jones and Rooke or at the Midlands Bus Company and was never given any protective equipment.

“Mesothelioma is an industrial related disease for which there is sadly no cure. From exposure it can take up to 50 years for symptoms to develop but sadly it is nearly always fatal.

“We hope John’s former colleagues at both companies get in touch as any information about the presence of asbestos and working practices, no matter how small, could help bring justice for his family.”

John, who was a widower, began suffering from shortness of breath and extreme tiredness in early 2011 and had to give up his love of ballroom dancing. Tests confirmed he had mesothelioma on 13 August 2011 and he sadly died less than a month later on 9 September 2011.

His daughter, Lesley Hinder, said: “John was a great character with a love for life, particularly his ballroom dancing. It was so hard for the family to see his health deteriorate and when we were told that he had incurable cancer we were absolutely devastated.

“The illness took hold very quickly but before he died he thought back to where he could have been exposed to asbestos dust and could remember working with it at the Midlands Red Bus Company and Jones and Rooke Ltd.

“We just hope anyone who remembers working with John gets in touch as we have so many questions about why he was taken from us so quickly and are desperate to see justice.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact Hayley Hill at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 214 5407 or email Hayley.hill@irwinmitchell.com

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to mesothelioma claims