Family Of Former PE Teacher Plead For Former Colleagues To Come Forward In Wake Of Asbestos Death

Brian York worked at Imberhorne School in East Grinstead, West Sussex for almost 30 years

15.08.2016

Hayley Court, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

The family of a PE teacher who died of asbestos-related cancer has issued a plea for his former colleagues to come forward to help them pinpoint how he became exposed to the deadly substance during his 29-year career

Brian York worked at Imberhorne School in East Grinstead, West Sussex from 1973 to 2002, but it was not until 13 years after he left teaching that he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs.

Brian, from Uckfield, Sussex, had been suffering from shortness of breath and pain in his back and side for some time before he was diagnosed in October 2015. He died on December 9 the same year, aged 63.

Before his death, Brian instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers, Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he became exposed to deadly asbestos fibres during his teaching years.

The firm is now searching for Brian’s colleagues on behalf of his family, who are desperate for answers in the wake of his sudden and unexpected death.

Wife Clair said: "Brian enjoyed playing rugby and was a general sportsman - he played County Rugby, played for Crawley, coached and taught rugby at school and played lots of staff/student matches during his years at Imberhorne and was generally very fit before he started to feel unwell."

Nothing will bring Brian back to our family, but it would mean a lot to us if we could just have some answers about how he became exposed to asbestos. No information is too insignificant and would really help us as a family come to terms with what has happened.

Brian was aware that the sports storeroom, under-stage storage and swimming pool pump room at Imberhorne School contained asbestos-lagged pipes and believed the cause of his disease was from damage caused to asbestos ceiling tiles which has been struck repeatedly by footballs during lessons.

The school also had pre-fabricated huts on site. These contained storage heaters which sat on, and were lined with, asbestos.

Although Brian recalled asbestos in these places, his family are looking for anyone who can provide details of anywhere else asbestos may have been present within school grounds.

The popular teacher played county-level basketball and organised sports tours for his student athletes, including trips to Jersey, The Hague and Zurich. He loved travelling and accompanied students to Bellagio in Italy as well as school camps in the UK and overseas.

Expert Opinion
“Brian was very well known in the area in which he lived for his sporting prowess having captained Uckfield rugby, played for Sussex and did England trials.

“He also played Sussex Schools cricket and regularly played cricket at school, for Withyham and various other clubs. He also likes playing snooker and was a member at Dunnings Mill Snooker Club East Grinstead at one time.

“He was a well-liked and much-loved member of his community and teacher and it is for this reason we know there must be many people out there who can shed light on how he may have come into contact with asbestos while at Imberhorne School.

“Brian’s friends and family are still struggling to come to terms with his illness, and sudden death and to be able to know exactly what happened to him would enable them to accept what has happened and try to move on.”
Natalia Rushworth-White, Solicitor

Anyone with information on the presence of asbestos at Imberhorne School or with information on the warnings provided to staff about the dangers of asbestos should contact Natalia Rushworth-White at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 3900 or email Natalia.Rushworthwhite@IrwinMitchell.com

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our expert mesothelioma solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.