Leeds Woman Has Teamed Up With Specialist Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell To Appeal On Action Mesothelioma Day
The daughter of a former Vickers Oils employee is appealing to her dad’s former colleagues for help on Action Mesothelioma Day as she seeks answers for his death after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.
Father-of-three Derek Wales, from Cottingley, Leeds, was diagnosed with mesothelioma on the 8th November 2016 and died nine months later, aged 72.
Derek’s daughter, Elaine Reardon, is speaking out on Action Mesothelioma Day in the hopes that her dad’s former colleagues will come forward to help her secure justice for his death.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive, and terminal, form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, often decades before victims begin to suffer with symptoms. According to the latest statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) more than 2,500 people in the UK lose their lives to the disease every year.
The number of deaths caused by mesothelioma between 1981 and 2015 in Leeds stood at 880, highlighting the rarity of the disease. While the majority of those who died were men, 232 women from Leeds lost their life to mesothelioma. Leeds was ranked 6th highest in Great Britain by the HSE for male mesothelioma deaths.
Shortly before his death Derek, a widower following the death of his wife Anne in 2013, instructed a team of expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he had been exposed to the deadly asbestos dust and fibres which caused his illness.
Following his death, his daughter, Elaine Reardon, carried on the cause and is determined to get answers regarding her father’s death. At an inquest into Derek’s death, held at Wakefield Coroner’s Court on 2nd July, found that Derek had died of Industrial Disease.
Mesothelioma is most commonly associated with heavy industry and the building trade and the vast majority of deaths from mesothelioma are in people over the age of 65. It is predicted that mesothelioma deaths will continue to rise every year before reaching a peak in about 2020.
Elaine, 47 from Leeds, said: “I was devastated by dad’s death, and I just want answers for how he was exposed to the asbestos that caused his illness and ultimately killed him. We were unable able to get justice for him while he was alive but I am determined to succeed in getting justice for him now.”
Elaine’s legal team believe that Derek was exposed to harmful quantities of asbestos dust and fibres while employed at Benjamin R Vickers & Sons Ltd, also known as Vickers Oils.
Elaine and here legal team are now appealing for former colleagues who worked with him at the firm’s base on Clarence Road, Leeds, between 1973 and 1979 to come forward with any information of the working conditions.
Lucy Andrews, the expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Elaine, said:
Expert Opinion“We believe that Derek was substantially exposed to asbestos while working for Vickers Oils due to the pipework being lagged in asbestos.
“We are continuing to work with Elaine as she carries on her father’s fight for justice to confirm where he was exposed to asbestos. We urge any of Derek’s former colleagues to come forward with any information about the working conditions at Vickers Oils as this will help our investigation.” Lucy Andrews - Associate Solicitor
Elaine legal team have also expressed an interest in speaking with anyone who used to live near Derek on Dulverton Grove, Leeds.Lucy added:
Expert Opinion“Through our investigations, we have come to believe that Derek could have potentially been exposed to asbestos at his home. There have been several asbestos surveys carried out at properties in the area, and we are aware of asbestos being removed from a number of these locations.
“We are very keen to speak to people who lived or currently live in properties on Dulverton Grove as we try and establish the source of Derek’s asbestos exposure.” Lucy Andrews - Associate Solicitor
Derek, who suffered a stroke after Anne died, was cared for in St James’s Hospital, Leeds, prior to his death and was also diagnosed with diabetes and kidney failure during his life.
Elaine said: “When dad was diagnosed with cancer, the family was in shock. As we were told his illness was likely caused by exposure to asbestos during his working or home life, we became extremely frustrated and angry.
“It was heart-breaking seeing the dad’s health deteriorate following his diagnosis. It quickly had a significant impact on his day-to-day life, and he would serious discomfort in his chest and would become breathless a lot more frequently than he used to.”
Action Mesothelioma Day aims to bring together victims of the disease, those who have loved ones affected by the disease, healthcare professionals, support groups and those working to understand the disease and find a cure, to ensure the public are aware of the terrible impact it can have on sufferers and their carers.
Elaine added: “I only hope that some of dad’s former colleagues or neighbours will come forward and contact my legal team at Irwin Mitchell with any potential information they may have. Any information could help me to get justice for dad and ensure those responsible for his exposure to asbestos are held to account.”
Anyone who worked with or lived near Derek and can provide any information is asked to contact Lucy Andrews at Irwin Mitchell on 0113 394 6782 or by email at email@example.com.