Help Sought On Working Conditions At Speediwarm and Ravenshawe Construction
The wife of a former welder and pipefitter is appealing to his former workmates for help following her husband’s death from asbestos-related disease.
Michael Churchman, of Uckfield, East Sussex, died from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following Michael’s death, his wife Christine Churchman, 75, instructed specialist asbestos-related disease specialists at Irwin Mitchell to investigate where her husband’s exposure to asbestos may have occurred.
Christine has now joined with the legal team in appealing for anyone who remembers working with Michael to come forward. They are keen to trace anyone who worked with Michael during his time at Speediwarm Ltd from 1961-62 and Ravenshawe Construction in the South East from 1963 to 1967.
Expert Opinion“Sadly we see many cases where the lives of families are devastated by the terrible legacy of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma with this case the latest example.
“Christine together with the children and grandchildren are still coming to terms with Michael’s untimely death. This has been made all the harder by having many unanswered questions as Michael’s illness.
“We’re determined to support the family in their quest for answers. Any information about the conditions Michael faced during his career could make all the difference in providing Christine and the family the answers and closure they deserve.” Emma Guy - Chartered Legal Executive
Michael, a father-of-six and grandfather-of-13 met Christine while working away from home for Ravenshawe in Newcastle. He was employed in the Bone yard, where they made glue.
Christine said Michael told her part of his role included the renovation and installation of pipe work, welding and lagging. Michael told her that he stripped lagging, believed to be coated in asbestos out before installing new lagging.
Michael moved to Newcastle to be with Christine in February 1967, deciding to move away from tools work and the necessity to often be away from home.
In 1968 they moved to London, where Michael worked in estimating and cost control. In 1987, the couple bought a hotel and moved to Cornwall and had 20 years of incredibly tough times and hard work but they survived, through turning their hands to everything and “getting on with it.”
Michael was passionate about athletics, having been GB Boy’s Champion in the 400 metres when he was 14. He also wanted to learn to fly and had a trial lesson.
After they sold the hotel and Michael had more time, he taught himself Berger caning and furniture restoration. He loved auctions and until he became unwell, was always pottering.
Mesothelioma was diagnosed in April 2019 after a long deterioration in general health and Michael died at home, in September after three extremely traumatic weeks in hospital, having been admitted with severe breathing difficulties.
Commenting on the appeal, Christine said: “I miss Mike every single day remembering his constant love and support and how, sometimes annoyingly, he could always make me laugh. People used to say we were a ‘double act’.
“Having lost him to mesothelioma was all the more devastating because the use of asbestos, even at the time of Mike’s exposure, was known by industry to be extremely hazardous.
“I lost a loyal, caring husband and the children have lost a loving father and ‘the Funny Grandad.’
“From conversations we had after Michael’s mesothelioma diagnosis, he mainly talked about Speediwarm and Ravensbourne as the most likely places for his asbestos exposure.
“If anyone remembers Michael in the ‘60s or if anyone who worked for either company could come forward, it would mean a lot and help us, in Michael’s memory, to get some of the answers that could support recognition of the growing scale and devastation to victims and their families of this cruel disease.
“This is all we can do and it will be a comfort to us as a family if it can be of some help.”
Anyone with information that could help Christine and the family is asked to contact Emma Guy of Irwin Mitchell on 0207 4213913 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org