Bradford MBE Recipient Appeals For Information After Asbestos-Related Cancer Diagnosis

Expert Asbestos Lawyers Instructed To Investigate Working Conditions At West Yorkshire Companies

22.01.2015

A local Bradford man is appealing for his ex-colleagues to provide information about the working conditions where he was employed in order to help specialist lawyers investigate whether more could have been done by his employers to protect him. 

Joseph Lawrence MBE, from  Thornbury, in Bradford was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a terminal asbestos-related cancer caused by exposure to asbestos in October last year.

He worked for several companies across West Yorkshire during his working life but considers that his exposure to asbestos may have occurred whilst working for three companies.  These included Foster Wheeler Limited in Huddersfield between 1968 to 1970, the North Eastern Gas Board in the 1970’s and L B Holliday & Co in Huddersfield in the late 1970’s. 

The 71-year-old instructed industrial disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the working conditions at these West Yorkshire companies and his legal team are now appealing to any of Joseph’s former colleagues to come forward with any information to help secure justice for him.

Nicola Handley, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, representing Joseph, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress for victims like Joseph who worked in industries where asbestos was regularly used. Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure, despite knowing how dangerous it is.

“We hope that Joseph’s former co-workers who worked at Foster Wheeler, North Eastern Gas Board and L B Holliday & Co will come forward to help us with our investigations. It’s important that we now help Joseph and his family get answers about his exposure to the deadly dust.”

During his working life at Foster Wheeler Limited his daily tasks included welding and cleaning the boilers in the boilerhouses. He also regularly undertook work in domestic premises whilst working for the North Eastern Gas Board during the 1970’s when he was responsible for converting customer’s gas supplies in the Huddersfield and Halifax areas. 

Joe was paralysed over 30 years ago and has never let things stand in his way. He was awarded an MBE in 2001 for services to wheelchairs sports and has always been a fit, well and independent individual who has inspired others.  

Joseph went into hospital in March 2014 for routine surgery for a stoma bag to be fitted and unfortunately there were complications.  It was during his stay in hospital and whilst recovering from this surgery that the presence of asbestos fibres were first diagnosed in his lungs when he began to have difficulty breathing. In October he had a biopsy and a CT scan which confirmed mesothelioma. 

Joseph said: “My wife Jean and I were shocked and devastated by my diagnosis and are struggling to come to terms with it. I have always been fit and healthy throughout my life and enjoyed an active lifestyle.
 
“I never knew that the work that I did so many years about would affect my life now.   I really hope that my former work colleagues will now help the team at Irwin Mitchell to give any information about the conditions that I worked in so my family and I can get the justice that I deserve.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at the above company’s should contact Nicola Handley at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0113 220 6233 or email Nicola.handley@irwinmitchell.com.