Information Sought On Working Conditions At GEC In Leicester
The daughter of a former electro-mechanical fitter is appealing to her dad’s former workmates for help as the family seek answers on how he came into contact with the asbestos that claimed his life.
John Atkins, was 83 when he died from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following her dad’s death, John’s daughter Susan Russell, 54, instructed asbestos-related disease specialists at Irwin Mitchell to investigate where her father’s asbestos exposure may have occurred.
Together with the legal team, Susan is appealing for any of her dad’s former workmates to come forward with details of the conditions he may have worked under.
The team is particularly keen to trace anyone who worked with John at GEC/AEI/ Marconi Radar System plants on Abbey Lane and Scudamore Road in Leicester from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s.
Expert Opinion“John was a fit and independent man prior to his diagnosis, so Susan and the family remain understandably devastated by his untimely death.
The family has a number of concerns about John’s asbestos exposure and are keen to discover how he came into contact with the substance since he died before he could do so himself.
While nothing can make up for the loss of a much loved father and grandfather, we are determined to support the family and Susan in their search for the truth.
Any information held by John’s former workmates could prove vital to the investigation and in providing the family with the answers they deserve.”
Rosemary Giles - Partner
John was a former army man and served as a paratrooper. In 1969, he began his electro-mechanical apprenticeship with GEC/AEI, based at the Leicester plant on Abbey Lane. The company produced generators and components for electric motors and John gained his qualifications while working there.
By 1971, John was working for Marconi Radar System on Scudamore Road, which was part of the same group of companies. Susan recalled her father’s work remained unchanged and thought he simply transferred from one part of the company to the other at the time. Further his work at Coventry Gauge Ltd was again thought to be similar.
Outside of work, John married his wife Janice in 1960 and they had two daughters. The couple enjoyed spending time with their family, and adored their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They also took part in bird watching, crafting and gardening, and loved the countryside. In addition, John continued to keep in touch with the paratroopers events for many years
In 2010, Janice died and John chose to move into sheltered accommodation in Paston, Peterborough.
Despite some health issues, John was fit and able to live independently as he wished, until in June 2019, Susan noticed he was slowing down, losing weight and had lost his appetite.
John hadn’t been able to sleep for the pains in his chest and was exhausted. Susan urged him to see his GP.
Following test he was diagnosed with mesothelioma November 2019. He died on 12 December 2019 with his daughters by his side.
Speaking about her dad and the appeal, Susan Russell said: “Dad was stoic and made very little fuss, but it was terrible for the family to see him deteriorate is such a short space of time.
“Dad was a wonderful man, a great dad, a great husband and a great friend. He had lost mum some years before, but he continued to remain active so to learn of his mesothelioma diagnosis from the doctors was a terrible experience.
“It was his birthday on 1 December and he had a wonderful time, surrounded by those he loved, including a Zoom call with his granddaughter and her family in Canada. It meant so much to him to have such a wonderful day and it would be the last time many of the family would see him.
“He was adamant he wanted to work on investigating how he encountered asbestos, even in that last week, but I told him his health mattered more and we could look at that once he was through the first cycle of chemotherapy. Sadly, this wasn’t to be, so it seems only right now to honour his last wishes and discover how he encountered asbestos.
“My sister and I sat with him through the night on the 11 December and he passed away in the afternoon of the 12th. That is also my youngest daughter’s birthday, which was just incredibly difficult for all of us as a family. The progression of the disease was so rapid, it was difficult to process what was happening emotionally.
“Dad had feared the worst and insisted I go to his flat to make sure I had all the important documents, including about his claim, should he pass away before he could act on it. He was determined to get at the truth of his asbestos exposure, from the moment he was given his diagnosis, so if anyone out there can come forward and help us, it would mean such a lot.
“We can’t bring dad back to us, but we can get to the bottom of this in his memory. No one deserves to have their life ruined by such a terrible disease and getting the answers on dad’s behalf will allow him to rest in peace.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sylvia Phillips at Sylvia.firstname.lastname@example.org
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