Family Determined To Honour Hartlepool Man’s Memory Following Mesothelioma Death
The widow of a former cleaner at Smith’s Crisps is appealing to his ex-workmates for help following his death from asbestos-related cancer.
Arthur Dobson died from mesothelioma, a terminal form of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
During his lifetime, the dad-of-three and granddad-of-eight instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he was exposed to the hazardous material. However, he died on 4 May 2020, aged 86.
Arthur’s Widow, Olga, aged 85, of Blackhall Colliery, near Hartlepool is now taking on her husband’s quest for answers. She is joining her legal team in appealing to his former workmates for help in establishing whether he was exposed during his career.
They are particularly keen to hear from anyone based at Smith’s Crisps in Peterlee, which was formerly known as Tudor Crisps and subsequently known as Walkers. Arthur was employed in the hygiene team as a cleaner between 1980 and 1990.
Expert Opinion“Sadly through our work we often see the devastating consequences exposure to asbestos can have with Arthur’s death being another reminder of the terrible legacy it has created in the North East.
Understandably Olga and her family have a number of concerns about Arthur’s exposure to asbestos and we are determined to provide the answers that they deserve.
We would be grateful to anyone who can come forward with information. Any detail could prove vital in helping Arthur’s family.”
Helen Jones - Associate Solicitor
The company was originally called Tudor Crisps, it later became Smiths Crips, followed by Huntley and Palmer, Nabisco and finally it was taken over by Walkers. The factory closed in 2017.
A former workmate told the family’s legal team that he and Arthur were asked to remove boarding - believed to be made from asbestos - which was wrapped around the H beams in the building. He added that the main, vertical support structures which were made of steel, were also covered in a white material which felt rough to touch and this had to be removed.
Arthur, who had two sons, Michael and Stephen, and a daughter, Lynne, started experiencing symptoms including pain and breathlessness in late 2018. Following tests he was told that he had pleural plaques and thickening of the lung. He was subsequently diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in March 2020.
Lynne said: “We were absolutely devastated when we found out Dad had cancer and that it was terminal. Dad felt numb and was concerned what his diagnosis meant for his family while Mam took it particularly hard.
“Before his diagnosis he had been really fit for his age but all that changed. His condition started to deteriorate Mam was helping him get dressed and to get into bed and helping him to shower. She was even supporting him walking to the toilet or even taking a bucket into the bedroom when he struggled to get out of bed.
“Before Dad’s diagnosis we hadn’t heard of mesothelioma but we sadly we know about it all too well now. We know nothing can make up for the pain we feel but we’re determined to at least honour Dad’s memory and find out how he was exposed to asbestos.
“We would be so grateful if anyone who worked at the factory came forward with information. It would mean so much to our family.”
Anyone with information about working conditions Arthur faced while employed by Smiths Crisps should contact Sonia Akram at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 434 0719 or email email@example.com.