The family of a committed charity worker and community volunteer who was exposed to asbestos dust have paid tribute to him after he lost his battle against the deadly asbestos related cancer mesothelioma.
Brian Harrison was diagnosed with the disease in December last year. Fluid was repeatedly drained from his lungs but his health deteriorated quickly and he died in April, aged 71.
His family has instructed leading law firm Irwin Mitchell to pursue an action against his former employers Moores Furniture Group Ltd where it is believed Mr Harrison, from Wetherby, was exposed to deadly asbestos fibres. He worked as a stores manager for the firm at its Thorp Arch site between 1967 and 1996.
Irwin Mitchell is appealing for ex-Moores Furniture employees and to other workers at the Thorp Arch site to get in touch about working conditions, in the 1960s and 1970s, at the former World War Two munitions factory, which is now a popular retail and business park.
Mr Harrison's son David said his father had done volunteer work for Wetherby in Bloom and worked at his local Cheshire Home charity shop prior to falling ill in October 2008.
"He had been fit and healthy but once the mesothelioma took hold his condition deteriorated significantly. He was in and out of hospital from the moment he was diagnosed until he passed away and even missed what turned out to be our final family Christmas. It's devastating," said David Harrison.
"Dad was a kind and gentle man who didn't deserve to suffer from this terrible illness. We want to find out what happened and try and prevent other people from suffering like he did."
Brian Harrison worked at Moores Furniture is thought to have been exposed to the asbestos when lagging around pipes at the former munitions factory was being ripped out by workmen.
Solicitor Ian Toft, from Irwin Mitchell, said: "Brian was responsible for turning the gutted buildings into stores and so would often operate in areas where there was old asbestos lagging.
"He was never given any safety warnings about the dangers of exposure to asbestos dust and never given a face mask to protect him. It’s vital we hear from former Moores Furniture workers and anyone else who worked at the Thorp Arch site in the late 1960s and early 1970s – they could be the key to showing exactly how Brian contracted this dreadful disease."
Anyone who is able to help can contact Ian Toft at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0370 1500 100.