Joiner Suffering With Mesothelioma Turns To Former Colleagues For Help

Expert Asbestos-Related Disease Lawyers Investigating Asbestos Exposure


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

A retired joiner who spent almost 30 years working for one company is appealing to his former colleagues for information on how and where he was exposed to the asbestos that caused him to develop mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to the deadly substance.

Richard Holland, 70, from Sadberge, near Darlington, was diagnosed with the disease in May 2015 after suffering chest pains and shortness of breath.

He has instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, which has recently opened a new consulting office in Middlesbrough, to investigate his exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

It is believed he developed the disease after being exposed to asbestos dust  decades ago, while working  for Magnet (formerly Browns Saw Mills) , where he spent two spells between 1967 and 1970 and then again from 1972 to 1996.

Richard told his legal team at Irwin Mitchell that in his second spell with the Magnet company he worked at the firm’s Yarm Road facility, where his role involved manufacturing kitchen units. He recalls working near to colleagues who manufactured fireproof doors, which contained asbestos sheeting.

He said the asbestos was screwed into place on the doors, causing dust and fibres to be released into the atmosphere, which he believes he would have breathed in when walking around the factory. Richard said he was never provided with a face mask to protect him from the dust in the factory and that he was not warned of the dangers of working in close proximity to asbestos.

Between 1966 and 1967 Richard worked for Darlington Co-op, based on Branksome Terrace, Darlington and was often required to refurbish shops in the town and believes that he was also exposed to asbestos when doing such work.

Richard served his apprenticeship as a Joiner with the North of England School Furnishing Company Limited between 1960 and 1966,. The company was based in East Mount Rd., Darlington and Richard may also have been exposed to asbestos dust there.

Richard and his legal team at Irwin Mitchell are appealing to anyone who worked with Richard at Browns Saw Mills, or Magnet as it became known, or at the North of England School Furnishing Company Limited or Darlington Co-p who has information on the presence of asbestos in the working environment or the safety measures, if any, in place to prevent workers from being exposed to asbestos dust and fibres.

Roger Maddocks, a Partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Richard, said:

Expert Opinion
“Asbestos dust and fibres can be extremely harmful if inhaled, which can cause a range of respiratory conditions and diseases, such as mesothelioma, which can cause a great deal of pain and suffering for victims like Richard.

“Mesothelioma is a terrible, and sadly, incurable form of cancer that kills over 2,500 people every year. Unfortunately, cases like Richard’s are not unusual and we are determined to help him find answers about his exposure to asbestos decades ago and if more could have been done to alert him to the risks of asbestos in the workplace.

“We hope his former colleagues at Darlington Co-op, Browns Saw Mills and Magnet will come forward and provide information on the presence of the hazardous substance and the steps taken to protect staff from asbestos.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner

Richard said: “My mesothelioma diagnosis absolutely knocked me for six. To find out that it may be the result of breathing in asbestos at work just added insult to injury.

“It has had a huge impact on my day-to-day life already and I’m extremely concerned about what the future holds for me as my condition develops. My main focus now is to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. That is why I’m appealing to my former colleagues to come forward and help me get the answers I need about my exposure and hold anyone responsible for failing to protect me to account.”

Anyone with information on working conditions at North of England School Furnishing Company Limited,  Darlington Co-op, Browns Saw Mills, or Magnet as it later became known should contact Emma Crowther on 01642 246915 or email

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.