Father Volunteered For Project As St Ives School Had Limited Budget
The son of a former design engineer is appealing for help in establishing whether his dad’s death from asbestos-related cancer stemmed from building an extension at his school.
David Johnson died, aged 83, three months after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a terminal form of cancer linked to exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Lawyers investigate dad's asbestos cancer death
David’s son, Michael, has instructed specialist asbestos-related lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how his dad was exposed to the hazardous material that claimed his life.
Michael, 53, and his legal team are investigating whether David was exposed to asbestos while undertaking voluntary work to extend Eastfield Infant Primary School in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, in the 1970s. Michael was a pupil at the school between 1973 and 1976.
Expert Opinion“While many people often associate asbestos with heavy industry its use was widespread in public buildings such as schools, hospitals and offices. We’ve seen incidents where support staff, teachers and even former pupils have been affected by exposure to asbestos.
“Michael and the rest of his family remain devastated by David’s death and understandably have a number of concerns. It is believed David was never exposed to asbestos during his career and as such, his time volunteering at this school has come under the microscope.
“Therefore we would be keen to hear from anyone who recalls this project, as well as others with more general information regarding the presence of asbestos at Eastfield Infant School.
“While nothing can make up for their loss we’re determined to provide David’s family with the answers they deserve.” Lacey St James - Associate Solicitor
Mesothelioma: David Johnson's story
David left school at 16 in 1952 and immediately started an apprenticeship in a drawing office. Following that, he worked for several companies in design roles. He was married to Brenda Johnson who died in 2005.
Michael said when he was a pupil at Eastfield the school would ask parents to help, including with the construction of an extension. He believed his Dad was involved in installing asbestos sheeting for fireproofing.
St Ives Cambridgeshire school appeal following dad's mesothelioma death
He said: “The school always had limited budgets, so they would ask parents to pitch in. Dad was more than happy to help. Before he died Dad said he remembered there being around eight or nine volunteers helping out and he had to cut sheeting with a handsaw and that created lots of dust.”
After David retired, he moved to Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire. David started developing symptoms of breathlessness and diverticulitis in October 2018. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2019 and died that September.
Michael said: “Dad’s condition was getting gradually worse and he had issues with breathing. However, being told he had mesothelioma was the last thing any of us expected because of his work history.
“It was only when we talked after his diagnosis that we thought volunteering at the school may be an issue.
“Following his diagnosis Dad’s condition rapidly deteriorated.
“Dad was a great man and nothing was too much trouble for him. We know nothing can ever make up for what has happened but we feel we deserve answers as to his exposure.
“I’d be hugely grateful to anyone who might be able to come forward with information regarding the project or the school. It really could make a massive difference to our family.”
How to help David's family
Anyone with information is asked to contact Lacey St James at Irwin Mitchell on 0203 0403 445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Action Mesothelioma Day takes place on 2 July is a time to reflect on the terrible legacy of the illness and the importance of upholding safety standards at all times.
Find out more about our expertise in helping families following affected by mesothelioma at our dedicated asbestos-related disease section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.