Woman Believes She Was Exposed To Deadly Asbestos Dust Washing Father’s and Husband’s Overalls

Industrial Disease Experts Instructed To Help In Battle For Justice


A mum-of-four diagnosed with a terminal asbestos-related cancer is appealing to her late husband’s and fathers former colleagues to get in touch as she believes she was exposed to the deadly dust while washing their work overalls.

Gwen Gouland, from Gilberdyke, in East Yorkshire was diagnosed with mesothelioma – caused by exposure to harmful asbestos dust decades ago - in February this year after suffering from a cough and flu like symptoms since November 2014.

The 78-year-old instructed specialist asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her exposure to the hazardous substance, which she believed occurred whilst she used to wash her husband’s and father’s overalls in the 1950’s and 1960’s. They were both employed at Hawker Siddeley, now run by BAE Global Systems in Brough, East Yorkshire.

Her husband Norman Gouland who worked in the tool room and her father Dunc Parkin who worked in the maintenance team at Hawker Siddeley throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s – her father left in 1974 and Norman worked there until the mid-1990’s. Both have since died.

Gwen is seeking justice and a settlement which will be used to provide vital care and support for her as she deals with the terminal illness and to provide financial security for her family, which includes her six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Expert Opinion
“Mesothelioma is a very aggressive and incurable cancer and causes a significant amount of pain and suffering for victims like Gwen who was unknowingly exposed to the deadly substance simply because she washed the contaminated clothes of her family every day.

“Both she and her family are understandably extremely upset and angry that she has been given this terrible diagnosis. They are very worried about what the future holds for Gwen and we would urge her husband and father’s former workmates to come forward with the information we need to secure justice for Gwen and her family.

“Their employers should have been well aware of the dangers asbestos posed to workers and measures should have put in place to protect members of staff, and in turn their families, from the deadly substance.”
Ian Toft, Associate

Gwen said: “My husband worked as a turner at Hawker Siddeley and he used to come home at least once a week with two sets of overalls for me to clean. They were always incredibly dirty and dusty – I used to joke with him that they could stand up on their own. I would take them outside and hit them against the side of the wall – this was to help get all the dirt and dust from them – clouds of dirt and dust used to fill the air.

“In the mid to late 60’s my mother became poorly and I used to visit my parents’ house to help her do the chores around the house, including washing my father’s work clothes. My husband and father worked at the same place for many years.

"At the moment, I become very tired and breathless from very simple tasks I am not having any chemotherapy at the moment – but have been referred for palliative care. My family and I have found my diagnosis very difficult to come to terms with – especially as it has all happened so suddenly. I hope that any of Norman’s or my father’s old work colleagues will be able to come forward to help in my battle for justice.”

Anyone with information on the working conditions at Hawker Siddeley or the measures put in place to prevent exposure to asbestos should contact Ian Toft at Irwin Mitchell on 0113 218 6453 or email ian.toft@irwinmitchell.com

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos, our expert mesothelioma lawyers could help you claim compensation. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.