Family Of Former Cleaner Appeals To Colleagues After Her Death From Mesothelioma

Specialist Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell Investigating Exposure To Asbestos


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

The devastated family of a former Rochdale cleaner are appealing to her ex-colleagues to come forward to help with an investigation after she died following a battle with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.


Veronica Taylor, from Milnrow, in Rochdale, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2015 after she had surgery for breast cancer at Royal Oldham Hospital. Sadly, she died aged 84 in April 2016.


Before her death she instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where she was exposed to the deadly dust that caused her to develop mesothelioma decades after her exposure.


She believed she was exposed to asbestos while employed at Richard Barnes & Sons Ltd from 1948 until 1981 in the folding and sewing departments. The pipework in the mill where she was based was lagged with asbestos and often in poor repair. She also worked at Birch Hill Hospital and Rochdale Cotton Mill.


Now Veronica’s family, with the backing of their legal team, are urging any of her former colleagues to come forward with any information they have about the working conditions at the companies, or if any safety procedures were put in place to protect workers.


Dominic Hemsi, a Partner and specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, representing Veronica’s devastated family, said:


Expert Opinion
“Asbestos dust and fibres can be extremely dangerous when inhaled or ingested and can cause a number of serious and sometimes fatal diseases, but all too often we see instances where employees were not given the correct information or protective equipment to prevent their exposure to the deadly material.

“Veronica’s diagnosis had a huge impact on her life when she should have been enjoying her retirement and her family understandably want answers about why she was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres without any warnings about the risks the material posed.

“We would like to hear from anyone who worked at Rochdale Cotton Mill, Richard Barnes & Sons and members of the cleaning team at Birch Hill Hospital as they may have crucial information that will help Veronica and her family get the answers they deserve.”
Dominic Hemsi, Partner

Before her death, Veronica recalled when she was working as a cleaner at Birch Hill Hospital she would have to sweep, dust and vacuum the dust around the building and also, on occasion, carry out a deep clean of the wards in the hospital. It is believed that asbestos was used to insulate the pipework; partition builds for fireproofing and ceiling tiles.


Veronica’s niece, Suzanne O’Neill, said: “My auntie said she was never given any training or information about the risks and dangers of asbestos and I know that had these been in place she would have taken all the necessary precautions to prevent her exposure to it.


“We were all shocked when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, just when she was enjoying her retirement and getting over surgery. It was extremely difficult to see her battling the disease and we want to know why she was not provided with better protection.


“Hopefully, those who worked with her at Richard Barnes & Sons Ltd will come forward with the crucial information we need to get the answers we want so we can get some justice for my auntie.”


Anyone with any information about the working conditions at any of the above sites where Veronica worked is asked to contact Dominic Hemsi at MPH Solicitors (part of Irwin Mitchell) on or call 0161 259 1517.

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.