Death Could Be Linked To Asbestos Present In Oven
The widower of a former youth hostel worker, who died of an asbestos-related cancer, is appealing to former residents and visitors of the Aysgarth Falls Hostel for help regarding his wife’s exposure to the harmful asbestos dust and fibres.
Margaret Wood, known as Sandra to her friends and family, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2016. Mesothelioma is an aggressive, terminal cancer of the lining of the lung commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.
Sandra, a mother-of-two, passed away from the disease on 4 January the following year.
Her husband David, 77, has instructed asbestos-related disease specialists at Irwin Mitchell to investigate Sandra’s exposure to asbestos.
David, who now lives in Morecambe, said: “We were all devastated by Sandra’s death. I am still trying to come to terms with it. I miss her daily.
“It was heartbreaking to see how quickly her health deteriorated after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma. She used to be so active but all her energy just seemed to disappear.
“It was frustrating to hear that her illness was due to asbestos exposure, and I am just eager for answers on where and how this exposure could have occurred.”
David’s legal team believe that Sandra’s exposure could have come through her work at the youth hostel.
Sandra and David worked for the Youth Hostel Association at their Aysgarth Falls Hostel in Yorkshire from approximately 1984 to 1990. They were employed to run the hostel which included catering for about 60 guests per night.
The youth hostel at Aysgarth Falls was open from 1951 to 2004 and at its busiest had 12,000 visitors per year. It also devised the Herriot Way, a walk through the Yorkshire Dales which went from hostel to hostel.
While running the hostel, the couple would undertake a variety of ‘Do-It-Yourself’ jobs, ranging from straining old paint, replacing windows and removing Aga-type ovens.
The process of dismantling the over took a few days, and created a lot of dust.
Once completed, the couple asked Richmondshire Council to dispose of the rubbish. The Council informed them that the cooker would have contained asbestos and sent out an inspector to test for it. Once results from these tests confirmed the presence of asbestos, a specialist team of contractors, fully equipped in protective gear, removed the oven and the asbestos debris.
David added: “At the time, asbestos exposure wasn’t really a consideration. We were told to do a job, so we did it. We never questioned the lack of warning from our employers on the presence of asbestos in the oven.
“We did all the DIY jobs around the hostel. We wanted to, and had to, keep it running so we got on with the job.”
With the help of his legal team at Irwin Mitchell, David is now appealing to local residents and visitors that may have visited the Aysgarth Falls Hostel in 1984 to come forward if they have any relevant information which may assist him and his legal team with their investigations.
Nicola Handley, the asbestos-related disease specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office representing David, said:
Expert Opinion“Mesothelioma is an utterly devastating disease. At Irwin Mitchell, we see time and time again families that are left devastated when their loved ones have been exposed to asbestos and suffered the consequences through no fault of their own.
“The dangers of asbestos were widely known about from 1965 onwards and even earlier, however many people are still unaware of where asbestos may be.
“Sandra and David embarked on a DIY task that they considered posed no risk at all and in turn it led to the loss of a life. Many individuals will frequently be unaware of the dangers of asbestos in the home and environments of a similar nature.
“Asbestos is a material that can found in many areas of a home such as partitions, garages and in this case, old Aga-style ovens.
“We are now hoping to speak to people who might be able to help us in our investigation.” Nicola Handley - Senior Associate Solicitor
Anybody that can help David and the investigation are asked to contact Nicola.Handley@IrwinMitchell.com or telephone 0113 220 6233.