A family man from Glamorgan diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer is issuing a plea for former colleagues to help him gain answers as to how he developed the illness.
Donald Lewis, 74, from Caerphilly, started to feel unwell in October 2019. Following a range of tests over a period of two months, he was diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma, a cancer in the layers of tissue which cover the lungs associated with asbestos exposure.
After receiving the devastating news, the father of three instructed legal experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and examine if his mesothelioma may be linked to his work history.
Donald worked for British Rail at Radyr Motive Power Depot, from 1963 to 1968, Guest Keen Iron & Steel Co Ltd (at the steelworks in Cardiff) between 1967 and 1969 and at M M Robertson Ltd in Bassaleg, Newport, between 1978 and 1997.
Donald is hoping Workers’ Memorial Day on Tuesday 28 April will help jog someone’s memory and encourage anyone with information about the use of asbestos at the sites in question to come forward and assist with the ongoing investigation.
Expert Opinion“Donald is understandably devastated by his recent mesothelioma diagnosis and is desperate for answers.
While asbestos is no longer used as freely as it once was, Workers’ Memorial Day is an important time to reflect on the legacy of the material and why safety must always come first.
We are determined to help Donald find the answers he is looking for and it would be a huge help if any former colleagues with information could come forward to help with our ongoing enquiries.” Alexandra Lausen - Solicitor
Donald has been married to Ann for 52 years and they have three sons and six grandchildren.
Donald was a cleaner and then a fireman for British Rail at the Radyr site. Former colleagues may remember Donald’s twin brother, Ricky, who worked with him there, as the brothers were often referred to as ‘twinny’. Donald worked in close proximity to fitters as they cut and tore asbestos rope before wrapping it around the flanges on the locomotives to prevent steam leaks.
Donald and Ricky then worked for Guest Keen Iron & Steel Co Ltd. Donald was a latcher and worked in close proximity to fitters, as they fixed and maintained the asbestos lagged pipework around the steelworks site.
Whilst employed by M M Robertson Ltd, Donald was often sent to the Girlings site in Cwmbran, where they made asbestos brakes. The factory was dusty and it was Donald’s responsibility to hammer out the floor, using a JCB to make space for various pieces of machinery.
Discussing the impact of his mesothelioma diagnosis, Donald said: “The last few months have been a very anxious time in my life and I am worried about what the future holds.
“Due to my shortness of breath, I am finding I cannot do as much as before, which has led to a lot of strain being put on Ann. I am keen to explore all medical possibilities and I’m currently waiting to hear whether I might be able to take part in a trial.
“During my working years, I was never provided with any adequate protective equipment to prevent me from inhaling the asbestos dust and fibres airborne in the areas around me. I’d be so grateful if anyone with information about my former employers and the relevant sites could come forward and help”.
Anyone with information that could assist with this case is asked to contact Alexandra Lausen at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office on 0117 926 1554 or by emailing alexandra.lausen@IrwinMitchell.com