Relatives Team Up With Lawyers To Find Answers In Mum-Of-Four’s Memory
The family of a former school science lab technician have launched legal action to establish if lab equipment containing asbestos caused her death from cancer.
Elizabeth Ann Griggs, was known as Ann Cutis during her time working at Wells Cathedral School in Somerset. She died around six months after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of terminal cancer linked to asbestos exposure often decades previously.
Before her death, the 79-year-old instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether her exposure to the hazardous material could have been linked to her working life.
Now, with her family continuing to seek the answers in Ann’s memory, Irwin Mitchell is appealing for former staff and pupils at Wells Cathedral School to come forward with information regarding the use of asbestos based equipment there.
Expert Opinion“While many cases tend to relate to industrial environments, we are involved in a growing number linked to asbestos exposure in other settings such as hospitals, council buildings and schools.
“Through our investigations we understand that Ann worked with products containing asbestos during her time as a school lab technician, but we would now be keen for more information regarding further detail about her exposure to asbestos dust.
“This appeal comes at a time when the issue of school science equipment containing asbestos has been in the spotlight, with the Health and Safety Executive confirming last year that two companies had sold gauze mats which included the material for a number of years.
“We would be hugely grateful if anyone who may have worked alongside Ann or may have been a pupil at Wells Cathedral School could come forward and provide information regarding the use of asbestos based equipment within the labs.” Laura Wilkinson - Solicitor
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Ann, a mum-of-four lived in North Wootton until 1984 before she moved to Shepton Mallet. She worked at Wells Cathedral School between 1969 and 2001.
During a holiday to Cyprus in October 2016, she started developing symptoms including a nasty cough and pain when sneezing.
On her return she visited her GP. Following a number of tests Ann was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2017. She died that November.
Shortly before she died, Ann recalled how her role at Wells Cathedral School involved setting up and packing away Bunsen burners containing solid asbestos. She also remembered providing pupils with asbestos mats designed to prevent heat damage to work surfaces.
Ann told her legal team at Irwin Mitchell how the school announced plans to remove all asbestos from its site during the course of her employment, with the Bunsen burners and asbestos mats being replaced.
Ann’s daughter, Debbie Harvey, 55, said: “Prior to her diagnosis Mum was fit and healthy. She was really active and enjoyed gardening, beekeeping and had won prizes for her honey. She really enjoyed going on holiday and did all the holiday planning as well as dealing in stocks and shares. She would be always telling us what to invest in and took care of all the household bills.
“We were stunned when we were told that she had cancer. It was very difficult to see the speed of her deterioration because of the mesothelioma. She was definitely not the frail lady she became in the final weeks of her life.”
Ann’s husband, Gerald, 91, added: “I am still devastated by Ann’s death and miss her every day. She was the kindest and most loving wife and mum anyone could wish for.
“Ann died before she was able to achieve justice. We now want to honour her memory by doing this for her and would be grateful to anyone who might be able to provide more information.”
Anyone with information which could assist this case is asked to contact Laura Wilkinson at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office on 0117 926 1565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann also leaves behind two other daughters Alison House and Melanie Hicken, aged 60 and 53, and son, Tim, aged 58.
She also had 10 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two sisters.