Relatives And Lawyers Mark Workers’ Memorial Day By Seeking Information On Employers
The family of a demolition worker are appealing to his former colleagues to come forward and help them establish whether the job he loved caused his death from asbestos-related cancer.
Hugh Fulton had suffered with symptoms including breathlessness for several years. He was diagnosed with the lung disease pleural thickening shortly before he died, aged 78, in January 2018. He was found dead at his home in New Addington by his son, John.
A post-mortem examination and inquest found that the father-of-three had died of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung commonly associated with exposure to asbestos materials.
Following the news, Hugh’s family instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he came to develop the illness and whether it may have been linked to his working life.
Now, the legal experts have joined with his loved ones in using Workers’ Memorial Day to appeal for anyone who worked alongside Hugh at either Syd Bishop & Sons from 1962 to 1988 or 777 Demolition from 1988 to 2017 to come forward and shed light on the presence of asbestos during his work.
Workers’ Memorial Day is on 28 April and is a day to ‘remember the dead and to fight for the living’ by paying respects to those who have died as a result of their employment. This year’s focus is on campaigning to get rid of asbestos in the workplace.
Expert Opinion“Workers’ Memorial Day is an important time to reflect on the dangers that the UK’s workforce have faced through the years and the terrible legacy of asbestos is well known to many people.
“Just over a year since his death, Hugh’s family are still attempting to get the answers which will help them come to terms with his death.
“Through our initial investigations we suspect he may have been exposed to asbestos while working at these two companies, but we need more information to determine whether that is ultimately the case.
“As such we would be grateful to anyone who could come forward and provide detail regarding the working conditions Hugh faced and whether the presence of asbestos was common.” Ian Bailey - Partner
Hugh was born in Scotland but moved to Croydon as a child. He leaves behind four children, John, Susan, Debbie and Russell.
Hugh’s family believe he worked for both Syd Bishop & Sons and 777 Demolition both as an employee and in a self-employed capacity.
It is understood he started work for Syd Bishop in 1962, with his role taking in residential and commercial projects across England, including the demolition of schools, town halls and police stations. His family recall him discussing demolishing garages with asbestos corrugated roofs and removing asbestos ceiling tiles.
Among the projects he worked were the demolition of houses in Lorry Park Road, Penge, Bromley Town Hall and an old hospital in Roehampton.
In 1988 he then moved on to working for 777 Demolition, which was also known as Norwood Compression and Western Foundations. He was involved with the firm right up until December 2017 when he resigned due to his deteriorating health.
His son John, 53, from Horley, said: “Dad was an incredibly proud and independent man and he simply loved his job, which was why he continued working to such an old age.
“He tried to keep that he was unwell from us but the whole family had noticed that he had lost weight and developed a very serious cough.
“Just before Christmas 2017 Dad’s health really took a turn for the worse and he was admitted to hospital. He accepted that he was too ill to return to work so he resigned. This was incredibly hard for him as he had always been employed and loved working.
“When Dad came home he seemed okay and we assumed that he’d be able to carry on for a bit longer. However, one day I went round to see him and found him collapsed on the kitchen floor. He had passed away that morning.
“It was absolutely terrible to find him like that and even worse that he passed with none of his family there.
“While we know nothing will bring him back, we feel we just need to know whether it is the job he loved so much that ultimately took his life. We are determined to gain justice and answers in Dad’s memory and would appreciate any help in our efforts.”
Anyone with information which may assist this case is asked to contact James Aiken at Irwin Mitchell’s London office on 0117 926 1528 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.