Appeal For Information Regarding Conditions At British Rail
The family of a former railway worker who died from asbestos-related cancer have issued an appeal to help discover how he could have developed the illness.
The plea is being made ahead of this year’s Workers’ Memorial Day on Tuesday 28 April.
Donald Smith died weeks before his 87th birthday in June last year, only a few days after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung commonly associated with exposure to asbestos materials.
Following his death, Donald’s family instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and how he may have gone on to develop the condition.
Unfortunately, due to the very short period of time between his diagnosis and death, Donald was not well enough to tell his family about his working life and how he may have come into contact with asbestos.
However, the family know that Donald was based at Manchester Victoria station and demolished old railway sheds between 1968 and 1969. Between 1970 and 1975/76 he was an electrician’s mate, during which time his jobs included cleaning and maintaining lamps and lights at train stations on the lines from Manchester to Bury, Blackburn and Blackpool.
As part of their ongoing work, the legal experts are now seeking more information about Donald’s working conditions and how he came into contact with asbestos when he was employed by British Rail between 1968 and 1991. With that in mind, they have joined with his family to call on anyone who may have worked alongside him to come forward.
Expert Opinion“This is yet another terrible case which demonstrates how the true consequences of asbestos exposure only becomes clear many years after exposure to asbestos.
Donald’s loved ones remain devastated by their loss, and their grief has been made more difficult by the lack of answers as to why he developed an asbestos related cancer.
While we believe exposure may have taken place during his time at British Rail, we now require more information as to whether that was the case. We would be grateful to anyone who could come forward and shed light on the conditions he would have faced.”
Katrina London - Senior Associate Solicitor
Donald’s daughter, Julie Ann Hayward, described how mesothelioma affected him: “Dad initially developed pains in his side and then within weeks he was really struggling with breathlessness.
“It was terrible to see how the illness affected him, and in his final days he moved to a hospice where he was given a huge amount of support during his last days.
“Dad was a wonderful husband, father and granddad and he was a friend to so many too. He was always hard-working and lived life to the full. Most of all, he is missed by so many people.
“We would be hugely grateful to anyone who might have information about his job and could help us – it would be massively appreciated.”
Donald’s loved ones are making the appeal ahead of Workers’ Memorial Day on Tuesday, 28 April, 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. The day campaigns to improve health and safety standards in the workplace, and increase the protection in place for employees.
Anyone with information that may assist with this case is asked to contact Katrina London at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office on 0161 838 7262 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.