Details Sought On Leeds Tailoring Companies Following Death Of Pudsey Woman
The husband of a woman from Pudsey who died from an asbestos-related cancer has joined with legal experts to appeal for witnesses to come forward with information to help determine how she became exposed to the substance.
Rita Chambers died in September last year at the age of 77, just three months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lungs which is most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos decades prior to diagnosis.
Before her death, Rita had instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at national law firm Irwin Mitchell to discover how she developed the illness that went on to claim her life. Her husband Stephen is now continuing with the investigation alongside the legal team, as they mark this year’s Action Mesothelioma Day, which is on 5 July.
Rita was employed as a sewing machinist within the tailoring industry in Leeds during the 1950’s and 1960’s, when the trade was booming in the city. She worked in close proximity to Hoffman steam presses that contained asbestos materials and maintenance work disturbed the asbestos lagging on the steam pipes. Asbestos pads that the clothes were pressed on also required changing.
Rita worked for seven tailoring companies where asbestos exposure may have taken place, and her husband Stephen has joined with lawyers at Irwin Mitchell in appealing to his wife’s former colleagues for information on her working environments. In particular, details are being sought on Executex Clothes Ltd (also known as Blacks or Black & Luper) and Prices Tailors Ltd, both of which operated factories on Kirkstall Road in Leeds.
Expert Opinion“Unfortunately, in my line of work I see many people that have suffered the devastating effects of asbestos exposure, most many years after the initial exposure took place.
“Mesothelioma is a usually fatal disease which results in a great deal of suffering for victims and their loved ones, and sadly Rita did not survive long enough to get justice. We are determined to get answers for Stephen and find out where his wife was exposed to asbestos and if more could have been done to help her.
“Action Mesothelioma Day gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of the seriousness of the condition and help others recognise the potential causes.” Oliver Collett - Partner
Rita began working as a trainee machinist for Black & Luper (Executex Clothes) in 1956 at the age of 15, where she made suits, jackets and trousers for two years. She was later employed by Prices Tailors Ltd for one year in 1962-1963 doing similar work.
Other companies Rita worked for included Benjamin Simon & Sons Ltd from 1958 to 1960, where she directly operated a Hoffman steam press. She also worked at B Morris & Sons, Dixon R Gaunt Ltd, Labofski Ltd and Cohen & Co (Leeds), all between 1961 and 1962.
Rita began experiencing cold-like symptoms in Christmas 2016 and was eventually diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2018.
She and Stephen were together for around 30 years and got married in 2003. Rita was mum to daughter Julie and son David, and she had four grandchildren.
Stephen, who has four daughters and 10 grandchildren from a previous marriage, said: “These last few months have been really difficult for me and I still miss Rita terribly.
“I found it so hard to watch her suffer the breathlessness and chest pain. She also lost a lot of weight and had no appetite towards the end.
“While nothing will bring her back, I need to get the answers she was looking for before she died.
“I would be very grateful if anyone who worked with Rita, and may have information that could help with the investigation, would come forward. Even the smallest of details could have a huge impact on the case.”
Anyone with any information to assist with this case is asked to contact Oliver Collett on 0113 394 6784 or e-mail email@example.com.
Action Mesothelioma Day is 5 July and campaigns to raise awareness of the incurable disease, remember those affected by it and help fund research into finding a cure.