Widow Appeals To Husband’s Former Colleagues After Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Expert Asbestos Lawyers Instructed To Investigate Working Conditions At Engineering Firms


The widow of a Bradford man is appealing for his ex-colleagues to provide information about the working conditions at a steel manufacturing company to help specialist lawyers investigate whether more could have been done by his employers to protect him.

Gerald McNeil, from Bradford, in West Yorkshire, started to feel unwell in June 2014.   He then suffered a respiratory arrest and was admitted to hospital. 

Following a diagnosis of double pneumonia during his admission at Bradford Royal Infirmary, doctors carried out further investigations that confirmed he was suffering from mesothelioma, which is an asbestos-related cancer. He sadly died at the weekend.

The 67-year-old was born in Jamaica but came across to England when he was 15.  His parents found a home in Bradford.

The father-of-six worked at Hepworth & Grandage, which was an engineering company who made pistons and airplane parts.  Gerald was employed to make moulds for the castings in 1964/65. He later worked as a Fitters Mate at Lancashire Steel Manufacturing Company Ltd in 1966/67.

His wife, Sherry Wallace instructed specialist industrial disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his exposure to the deadly dust and now they are appealing to Gerald’s former work colleagues to come forward with any information about the working conditions at either of these companies.

Expert Opinion
“Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress for victims like Gerald 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 Gerald’s former co-workers will come forward to help us with our investigations. It’s important that we now help his family get answers about his exposure to the deadly dust.”
Nicola Handley, Solicitor

At his time at Hepworth and Grandage he recalled large furnaces in the factory which were connected by pipes which had asbestos lagging on them.

He also remembered that the foundry was so full of dirt and dust that you wouldn’t recognise friends you would say hello to on the street due to the amount of dirt and dust on them.

Lancashire Steel was a large steel corporation which had two sites in Warrington and Irlam - they employed over 9,000 employees at the time and later became part of the British Steel Corporation.

Gerald worked at the site in Warrington as a Fitters Mate for around six months and again recalled the conditions in the factory being very dirty and dusty at that time. 

Before his death he recalled working in the steel rollers section alongside other members of the maintenance repair gang.  Again, there were large furnaces which had pipework lagged with asbestos connected to them.

Sherry said: “Our family were shocked and devastated by Gerald’s diagnosis and are struggling to come to terms with it. In his last few months he tried to spend as much time now with our children and grandchildren as possible.  However, he did struggle with his condition on a daily basis.

“We never knew that the work he did so many years ago would affect his life now and take him from us so suddenly.   I really hope his former work colleagues will now help the team at Irwin Mitchell to give any information about the conditions he worked in so we can get the justice that he deserves.”

Our expert mesothelioma solicitors will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you or a loved on has been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.