Daughter Makes Plea Ahead of Workers’ Memorial Day
The daughter of a former Vickers Oils employee is appealing for former colleagues who worked with her dad for help, as she seeks answers following his death from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.
The plea comes ahead of this year’s Workers Memorial Day on Tuesday 28 April.
Father-of-three Derek Wales, from Cottingley, Leeds, was diagnosed with mesothelioma on the 8th November 2016 and died nine months later, aged 72. Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer caused by exposure to harmful asbestos, often dust decades before the diagnosis is made.
Shortly before his death Derek, a widower following the death of his wife Anne in 2013, instructed a team of expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he had been exposed to the deadly asbestos dust and fibres which caused his illness.
Following his death, his daughter, Elaine Reardon, carried on the cause and is determined to get answers regarding her father’s death.
Elaine, from Leeds, said: “I was devastated by dad’s death, and I just want answers for how he was exposed to the asbestos that caused his illness and ultimately killed him.
“We were unable able to get justice for him while he was alive but I am determined to succeed in getting justice for him now.”
Elaine’s legal team believe that Derek was exposed to harmful quantities of asbestos dust and fibres while employed at Benjamin R Vickers & Sons Ltd, also known as Vickers Oils.
With the backing of Irwin Mitchell, she is now appealing for former colleagues who worked with him at the firm’s base on Clarence Road, Leeds, between 1973 and 1979 to come forward with any information of the working conditions.
The appeal comes ahead of this year’s 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.
Expert Opinion“We believe that Derek was substantially exposed to asbestos while working for Vickers Oils due to the pipework being lagged in asbestos.
We are continuing to work with Elaine as she carries on her father’s fight for justice to confirm where he was exposed to asbestos. We urge any of Derek’s former colleagues to come forward with any information about the working conditions at Vickers Oils as this will help our investigation.” Lucy Andrews - Associate Solicitor
Further to this, Elaine’s solicitor has also expressed an interest in speaking with anyone who used to live near Derek on Dulverton Grove, Leeds.
Lucy added: “Through our investigations, we have come to believe that Derek could have potentially been exposed to asbestos at his home. There have been several asbestos surveys carried out at properties in the area, and we are aware of asbestos being removed from a number of these locations.
“We are very keen to speak to people who lived or currently live in properties on Dulverton Grove as we try and establish the source of Derek’s asbestos exposure.”
Derek, who suffered a stroke after Anne died, was cared for in St James’s Hospital, Leeds, prior to his death and was also diagnosed with diabetes and kidney failure during his life.
Elaine said: “When dad was diagnosed with cancer, the family was in shock. As we were told his illness was likely caused by exposure to asbestos during his working or home life, we became extremely frustrated and angry.
“It was heart-breaking seeing the dad’s health deteriorate following his diagnosis. It quickly had a significant impact on his day-to-day life, and he would serious discomfort in his chest and would become breathless a lot more frequently than he used to.
“I only hope that some of dad’s former colleagues or neighbours will come forward and contact my legal team at Irwin Mitchell with any potential information they may have. Any information could help me to get justice for dad and ensure those responsible for his exposure to asbestos are held to account.”
Anyone who worked with or lived near Derek and can provide any information is asked to contact Lucy Andrews at Irwin Mitchell on 0113 394 6782 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org