Inquest Finds That Dad Died As A Result of Cancer Linked to Hazardous Material
The family of a Luton man are calling on his former workmates for help to establish how he developed the asbestos-related cancer which claimed his life.
Walter Kennedy, aged 70, died three months after he was diagnosed with the disease. An inquest ruled that his death was caused by mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung linked to asbestos exposure, often decades previously.
Prior to his death, the dad-of-three instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s London office to investigate his illness and how he developed it.
Now, as part of their work, the legal experts are seeking more details as to whether the condition may be linked to his employment history and, more specifically, to his time at Vauxhall Motors in Luton in the late 1960s. Walter worked on the production line at its plant in Luton.
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“Walter’s family remain devastated by their loss and are keen to gain a full understanding as to how this could have happened.
Sadly, Walter was extremely unwell following his diagnosis and was unable to establish how he was exposed to asbestos.
Following our investigations we believe his exposure may have taken place at Vauxhall Motors, but we need more information to determine whether that is the case.
We would be hugely grateful to anyone who may be able to come forward with information regarding Vauxhall Motors and help us and Walter’s family with this case.” Ian Bailey - Partner
Walter was born in County Tipperary in Ireland and moved to England aged 20 years. He spent most of his life in Luton.
Walter and his wife, Josephine, aged 71, married in 1969 and had 3 children, Gillian Kennedy, aged 49, Siobhan Kennedy, aged 45 and Keiran Kennedy, 36. As well as 3 grandchildren, Amelie aged 7, Connor 5, with the third recent addition of Dillon, 2 months old.
It is understood that Walter worked at the Vauxhall Motors plant in Luton between 1968 and 1970.
He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July 2018. He died at home on 26 October, 2018.
Gillian said: “Dad was such a wonderful man who was never happier than when spending time with his family, he was devoted to his grandchildren, sharing his love for music with them, teaching them to sing his much loved songs, going on bike rides together, playing tennis and having so many special times. Both Amelie and Connor have struggled since losing their Granddad and best friend.
“Dad was a talented country Irish musician and singer, bringing so much joy to so many friends and family, for many years, learning new music and songs right up until he became ill. He was a well-respected man and would have done anything for anybody, always helping elderly neighbours where he could, and anyone he felt he could help, he truly had a heart of gold.
“I have always been so very proud of my dad, and felt so lucky to have Walter Kennedy for my dad.
“The last year, and trying to come to terms with his death has been incredibly difficult for us all. I am so sad that asbestos did this to my lovely dad and shortened his life. What happened to him is so very cruel. We are completely heartbroken, as he was a much loved husband, father and grandfather and our lives will never be the same again.
“Dad only had 13 weeks from diagnosis and suffered beyond belief during this time.
“While we know nothing can ever make up for his death, we want to find out the answers as to how he was exposed to asbestos. We would be so grateful to anyone who came forward with information.”
Anyone with information which may assist this case is asked to contact Ian Bailey at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 4754 or email Ian.Bailey@IrwinMitchell.com