Widow Of Ex-Telegraph Operator Seeks Answers Regarding His Asbestos-Related Death

Legal Experts Join With Family To Investigate How Man Was Exposed To Material


The widow of a former telegraph operator who died earlier this year from asbestos-related cancer has joined with specialist lawyers to call for his former colleagues to come forward and help her gain answers regarding how he was exposed to the material.

John Cook, from Walworth in South London, passed away in May aged 83, several months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma – the cancer of the lining of the lung commonly associated with exposure to asbestos fibres.

His wife Doreen, who he was married to for 30 years, has now instructed asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he came into contact with the material. As part of their work, they are calling on his former workmates to get in touch with details regarding the working conditions he faced.

They are particularly keen to hear from anyone who worked at the Commercial Cable Company in London from 1951 to 1975. John worked in the telephone department at the time dealing with incoming telegrams and had believed that pipes which ran overhead may have been lagged with asbestos.

The team are also interested in hearing from any ex-colleagues he worked with in the telephone departments at Tate & Lyle in the 1970s, BFT Communications in the 1980s and BT in the 1980s-1990s.

Helen England, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is representing Doreen, said: “John was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather and all of his family are continuing to try and come to terms with losing him.

“His story is another devastating example of the impact that asbestos-related disease can have on victims, often seeing them develop very serious illnesses decades after exposure.

“Any detail could prove absolutely vital in not only providing his family with the answers, but also ensuring they can access vital financial support they deserve.”

John was diagnosed with mesothelioma on October 2014, around a month after he first developed breathlessness. He was eventually referred to hospital for various tests, scans and a biopsy before being given the diagnosis. 

Doreen Cook recalls: “The symptoms developed so quickly and his condition deteriorated rapidly – it was incredibly hard to see how the mesothelioma affected him in his final few months and we still miss him everyday.

“Now we just want to know more about how he came to suffer this terrible illness. I would urge anyone who might have any information to come forward, as any information could be so important to us.”

Anyone with information about working conditions John faced at the Commercial Cable Company should contact Helen England at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 3896 or email helen.england@irwinmitchell.com.