Spennymoor Warehouse Operator and Former Painting Apprentice Appeals for Help in Asbestos Investigation

Law Firm Seeks Former Colleagues To Assist In Bringing Justice For Terminally ill Man


A former painter and decorator and Warehouse operative, diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, is appealing to any of his former colleagues from the two different businesses he worked for, to help provide information about his exposure to the deadly dust.

Alan Russell, 62, of Byers Green in Spennymoor, has instructed expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office to investigate how and why he was exposed to asbestos after learning of his diagnosis.

He first worked as an apprentice for Templey Newton, a decorating firm on Clyde Terrace between 1966 and 1969. He also worked as a lorry loader and warehouse operator between 1972 and 1987 for Smart Brown Limited, which was subsequently taken over by Thorne EMI and then taken over by Electrolux.

During his employment with Templey Newton, Alan worked at a few schools including Harlow Green, where it is believed he may have been exposed to asbestos during the construction and decorating of the new buildings.

However specialist asbestos lawyers representing Alan believe he could also have been exposed to dangerous asbestos dust and fibres while employed by Thorne EMI during the mid 1980’s.

Alan used to check items on a conveyor belt within the warehouse which was based on Merrington Lane Industrial Estate. He recalls pipes being replaced and re-lagged for quite some time and that the laggers would apply asbestos paste by hand, right next to where he was working. 

During this process, Alan says he was not informed about the dangers of asbestos or provided with the right protective equipment.

The Spennymoor man, who lives on his own at his home in Byers Green, only started to feel breathlessness at the start of July last year and was diagnosed with mesothelioma during the same month at The University Hospital of North Durham.

Alan is now extremely unwell and requires help from his neighbours to travel about and assist with house chores.

Roger Maddocks, industrial disease legal expert at Irwin Mitchell representing him, said: “This is an extremely sad case for Alan as he was only diagnosed around six months ago and his health has deteriorated rapidly.

“Alan’s devastating news that he suffers from a terminal illness is most likely to have been caused due to asbestos exposure during his employment decades ago.

“We urge anyone who has worked at the same companies during the same time-frame to come forward and shed some light on the working conditions, as this will assist with the case and hopefully achieve justice for Alan.”

Alan, who is receiving chemotherapy as part of his treatment commented: “The diagnosis of mesothelioma has well and truly left me devastated.

“I feel like I am being punished simply for being hardworking and going into work every day. I am angry and upset that my illness may have been caused due to poor protection at work and exposure to asbestos dust and that although I myself didn’t know about the dangers, I understand that most employers knew the risks and should have done more to protect us.

“It’s so frustrating to me that having been independent all my life, I now have to call on my kind neighbours to help me with pretty much most things.

“I just want answers and justice about my case, before it is too late and if anyone has any information, I urge them to contact my lawyers as they may be able to help me.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact Roger Maddocks or Kirstie Wilson at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office on 0191 279 0136 or email roger.maddocks@irwinmitchell.com or kirstie.wilson@irwinmitchell.com