Plea For Information Ahead Of Workers’ Memorial Day
The devastated partner of a South West London man has issued an emotional appeal for answers as to how he was exposed to the asbestos that claimed his life.
William Daniells, of Streatham, died weeks before his 70th birthday in May 2019, after suffering for a number of months with symptoms including shortness of breath.
While tests within his lifetime revealed that he had a build-up of fluid and thickening on his lungs, a post-mortem examination confirmed that William, known as Bill, had been battling mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with asbestos exposure.
Following the news, his partner of 49 years Elizabeth Clements, 70, instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and whether his contact with the substance may have occurred during his working life.
Now to mark Workers’ Memorial Day, the legal experts are appealing for more information from anyone who recalls working with Bill during his time as a carpenter and joiner. They are specifically keen to hear from old workmates from his time at Trollope and Colls in Camberwell in the late 1960s, as well as those who worked with him when he was a subcontractor and self-employed.
Leah O’Keefe, the legal expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office who represents Bill’s partner Elizabeth, said: “Bill’s family remain understandably upset at his death, particularly as his mesothelioma was only diagnosed in a post-mortem examination.
“Because of this Elizabeth had no opportunity to talk to Bill about when asbestos exposure may have occurred. With this in mind, we’d be keen to hear from anyone who could shed light on the matter.
“Bill’s family have a number of questions about his exposure. While nothing can make up for his death, any detail could prove to be hugely important in providing the family with the answers they deserve.”
Bill joined Trollope and Colls as an apprentice carpenter and joiner in 1966 and stayed there until 1971. Elizabeth met him during this time and recalls that he worked on sites including the Marshall and Schnellgrove shop in Oxford Street. This later became Debenhams.
After that period, Bill subcontracted and then became self-employed, while he then went on to leave the building trade entirely in the 1980s and switched to buying and selling antiques.
Discussing her loss, Elizabeth said: “It is still hard to believe that Bill is gone, as we had both been looking forward to enjoying retirement together and creating many memories.
“The news that he had mesothelioma and none of us knew came as a huge shock, particularly as Bill had always been fit and healthy. He didn’t even have a GP for a long period as he never seemed to be ill.
“Bill just loved cycling, and was out on his bike at every opportunity. He used to do a 30 mile trip every summer and had done one that summer a couple of months before he became ill.
“It was awful seeing how the illness affected him, as he lost a huge amount of weight and became so very weak. It got to the point when he couldn’t even get out of bed.
“It has been very hard coming to terms with the loss and the whole process has been made tougher by the lack of answers regarding the illness. I’d be hugely grateful to anyone who can help.”
Workers’ Memorial Day is on 28 April, and is 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 protection in place for employees.
Anyone with information which may assist this case is asked to contact Leah O’Keefe at Irwin Mitchell’s London office on 0207 421 3998 or email leah.o’firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting clients following diagnosis at our asbestos-related disease section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.