‘It’s Hard Not To Be Angry’, Says Grandfather Diagnosed With Lifelong Asbestos Illness

Industrial Illness Experts Ask Former Shop Fitting Colleagues For Information About Dangerous Dust

30.07.2013

By Helen MacGregor

A devastated grandfather-of-twelve, who has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, is appealing to his former Birmingham colleagues for help as he launches a battle for justice.

Herman Batchelor, who was affectionately known as 'Skip', was diagnosed in 2010 with asbestosis, a chronic respiratory disease caused by inhaling asbestos dust which scars the lungs, leaving him suffering shortness of breath and extreme tiredness.

The 77-year-old, who lives in the Erdington area of Birmingham, has now instructed industrial illness experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to help him gain justice and access to the funds he needs for his future treatment and care. Together, Herman and his lawyers are appealing for further information regarding his working conditions which exposed him to asbestos.

The firm would like to hear from any of Skip’s former shop-fitting colleagues at Cadwallader Ltd, based in Perry Barr, where he worked from 1961 to 1966 and A Edmonds & Co Limited, on Constitution Hill, where he worked from 1967 to 1969.

Rajni Bharj, an expert asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office leading the case, said: “Mr Batchelor has been left devastated by his diagnosis of asbestosis and is desperate to see justice for the debilitating illness he must now live with for the rest of his life.

“Whilst working as a shop fitter for both Cadwallader and A Edmonds & Co, Skip as he was known by his colleagues, worked in extremely dusty environments which he recalls contained asbestos dust. It was impossible for him to not to breathe this in, especially since he was not provided with any masks or other protective equipment.

“Employers knew the risks of using asbestos but sadly did not do enough to protect workers from the harmful dust and fibres and too many people are now suffering from asbestos-related diseases decades later.

“We now hope that anyone who has any information regarding the working practices and presence of asbestos at either company during the time periods listed comes forward to assist with our enquiries.”

When working for Cadwallader Mr Batchelor used to work in shops up and down the country stripping the asbestos ceilings and pipework lagging.

During his time with A Edmonds & Co he did a lot of shop fitting for banks, jewellers and building societies throughout the Birmingham area.

Mr Batchelor, who has five children, said: “I remember specifically removing asbestos ceilings and pipework lagging while re-fitting shops for Cadwallader and A Edmonds & Co. I was never warned of the dangers of inhaling asbestos dust or provided with any protective equipment.

“In early 2010 I noticed I was suffering from shortness of breath and was much more tired that I used to be. I visited my doctor who carried out tests and when I was told the diagnosis of asbestosis it was very hard to come to terms with.

“It’s difficult not to be angry knowing that I have a chronic illness caused by something I was exposed to at work that I had no control over. I have a large family and love to spend time with them, especially the little ones, but I have had to slow down a lot as I get tired very easily.

“I’ve had to come to terms with the fact I will spend the rest of my life on medication for my cough and to help my lungs. I just hope anyone who has any information, no matter how small, gets in touch as it could be a vital piece of evidence that could bring justice for the life-long illness I now face.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact Rajni Bharj at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 214 6584 or email Rajni.Bharj@irwinmitchell.com.

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