Son Of Former Factory Worker Appeals For Her Ex Colleagues To Help Lawyers Investigate

Dark Room Assistant Believed She Was Exposed To Asbestos At Engineering Firm In The 1940s


By Suzanne Rutter

The devastated son of a woman who died from the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma she believed she came into contact with at a north east engineering company  is appealing for her ex colleagues to help lawyers investigate how she was exposed to the deadly dust.

Joyce Ramsay, of Cramlington in Northumberland, died aged 82 in December 2012 after battling asbestos-related disease mesothelioma for just six months.

Joyce’s son Stephen, from Milbourne in Newcastle, has now joined forces with expert industrial disease lawyers from Irwin Mitchell to appeal for Joyce’s former work colleagues at Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle to help them investigate her exposure to asbestos from 1946 to 1948.

Joyce began working for the firm aged 16 as a dark room assistant and she was responsible for developing photographs of machinery used by the company. Her job also entailed making deliveries to different workshops on the Vickers’ Elswick site, which meant she regularly worked alongside the firm’s vast amount of machinery.

Isobel Lovett, a specialist industrial disease lawyer from Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office, said: “Asbestos-related diseases are the biggest occupational killer of all time and it can take decades for victims like Joyce to develop the debilitating conditions for which there is sadly no cure.

“Joyce’s family are still coming to terms with losing her in such tragic circumstances we believe was caused simply by going to work every day when she was a teenager. It’s important that we speak to any of her ex colleagues from Vickers Armstrong who may be able to shed light on how the factory used asbestos and the working conditions she endured, so that we can get her family the justice they deserve.”

Joyce first started to feel pains in her chest and back while on holiday in Wales in July 2012 and went to see her doctor when she returned home.

She was transferred to Wansbeck General Hospital for scans which confirmed she was suffering from mesothelioma. Sadly, her condition was too advanced to treat with chemotherapy and she died at Blyth Community Hospital on 18 December 2012, leaving behind Stephen and his sister Susan.

Stephen, a farm worker in Melbourne, said: “It’s absolutely devastating to think my mum’s illness was caused by exposure to asbestos she came into contact with about 66 years ago and I don’t think Susan and I will ever get over seeing her suffer like she did in the last six months of her life.

“Vickers Armstrong was a well known company in the north east before it closed in the 1970s so I hope as many people as possible will come forward and help our legal team investigate how the firm used asbestos so that we can get mum the justice she deserves.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at Vickers Armstrong should contact Isobel Lovett at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office on 0191 279 0104 or email