Husband Appeals To Former Talbot Green Factory Workers Following ‘Heartbreaking’ Diagnosis
A former Cardiff factory worker is appealing for help in establishing whether his three-month job as a schooleaver led to him developing terminal asbestos cancer.
Hugh Lewis, 74, who is better known by his middle name ‘Clive’ has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with asbestos exposure, often decades previously.
Following his diagnosis in April 2020, Clive instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he was exposed to the material that now looks set to claim his life.
Clive who is better known to friends by his middle name ‘Clive’ went on to become a finance director, and his legal team are now keen to trace anyone who worked at the Pemutit factory off Cowbridge Road in Talbot Green, Cardiff. They would like to hear from anyone who worked when Clive was at the factory between July and September 1964, or who was there for a longer period of time and would be familiar with the working conditions Clive faced.
Laura Morrison, the asbestos-related disease specialist at Irwin Mitchell representing Clive, said: “Having worked in the finance industry for almost all of his career, Clive was shocked to be diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.
“Naturally Clive and his wife have a number of concerns about his diagnosis and what the future holds. While sadly the doctors can’t cure Clive’s mesothelioma he is currently exploring his treatment options and he is keen to discover how he could have encountered asbestos.”
“Clive can only remember potentially encountering asbestos in his job at the factory on leaving school. Therefore any information about working conditions at the site during the 1960s could make all the difference as Clive looks for the answers he deserves.”
Born in Talbot Green, just north of Cardiff in 1947, Clive left school aged 17 in 1964 and went to work at the Pemutit factory near where he lived. The factory was the chemical production division of a water purifying company.
Clive was employed on the maintenance team as a labourer, from July to September, 1964. His job involved rubbing down and re-painting the extensive internal pipework in the factory that Clive believes was insulated with asbestos insulation and sweeping up afterward.
Having left to train as an accountant, Clive has worked in finance for the rest of his career, rising to be a finance director for several firms. He has few memories of the factory, although he believes it was closed and demolished in the1990s.
Clive, now of High Wycombe, has been married to wife Elizabeth for 47 years and the couple have one son. Clive played for the company football team when he worked at the factory.
A generally fit man, Clive became concerned when he started to feel wheezy in February 2020. Following a biopsy that April, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and is currently exploring his treatment options.
Speaking about his diagnosis, Clive said: “As a white collar worker, I was shocked to be diagnosed with an illness associated with exposure to asbestos.
“When asked by my consultant, I couldn’t recall any exposure, but on the way home, I had time to think back over working at Permutit and I remembered the dust and the pipes that seemed to be lagged in asbestos.
“The Permutit factory was one of the biggest local employers at the time. My older brother Tony and cousin Alan both worked there and as the foreman, Alan was the one who got me the job on the maintenance team.
“There was no formal training; I was just told what to do each day. I’m sure the lagging on the pipes was asbestos and I did the sweeping up after rubbing them, which was dirty, dusty work.”
Clive added: “Following the coronavirus pandemic, it was decided to delay my treatment due to the associated risks. The disease has progressed in the meantime and I am due to discuss starting treatment with my oncologist shortly. The future is uncertain, but I want to discover the truth about my asbestos exposure.
“Tony died from cancer in the 1990s and Alan also died several years ago, so I’m hoping that others who worked at the factory and remember the conditions might now come forward.
“If any former factory workers can help, it would mean a lot to me. Some answers would be a comfort at what is a difficult time for me and the family. We might also be offering a warning to others on asbestos, which would see some good come out of this terrible experience.”
Anyone who worked at the factory and can help Clive, is asked to contact Laura Morrison on 0207 400 8778 or firstname.lastname@example.org