Daughter In Plea For Information On Working Conditions At Glaxo Laboratories
The daughter of a process operator from Cumbria is appealing to her dad’s former workmates for help, as she seeks answers on how he developed the illness that claimed his life.
William Mackereth, (more commonly known as “Bill”) of Dalton-in-Furness, died from mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lining of the lung, associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously. His brother, Brian, also sadly died of mesothelioma around, around 10 years ago.
Following her dad’s death aged 78, his daughter Diane Mackereth, 54, instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate where her father’s asbestos exposure may have occurred.
Diane has now joined the legal team in appealing for any of her dad’s former colleagues at Glaxo Laboratories to come forward with information on the conditions he would have worked under.
Bill worked as a process operator at the Glaxo Laboratories site in Ulverston from 1959 to 1964 and again from 1967 to 1973.
He was also well-known in the area, having run his own butcher’s shop in Dalton and from being a co-owner of Cumbria Entertainments running Buffers Night club and Hoppers fun pub.
The appeal comes as families and organisations mark Action Mesothelioma Day. Taking place on 2 July, the commemoration aims to raises awareness of the terrible impact of the cancer.
Expert Opinion“Bill’s death was a real shock to Diane and the whole family and is another reminder of the unwanted legacy that asbestos has created in the region.
“Through our work, we support many families whose loved ones developed mesothelioma, often years after first encountering asbestos and that appears to be the case for Bill.
“Bill deteriorated so fast following his diagnosis, that he was unable to tell his family about where he may have encountered asbestos. We are determined to support Diane as she looks to uncover the truth in and honour her dad’s memory. Any information his former workmates at Glaxo Laboratories can supply could prove vital to providing the family with answers they deserve.” Helen Jones - Associate Solicitor
A Cumbrian man born in 1940, Bill left school aged 15 and started his working life as an apprentice butcher in Barrow in 1955. He met his wife, Shelia in 1956. The couple married in 1965 and had three children together, Diane Mackereth, 54, Lynne Tyson, 53 and Ian Mackereth, 52.
Bill joined Glaxo Laboratories as a process engineer in the antibiotics department from 1959 to 1964, but by 1972 he had moved onto fine chemicals. Bill enjoyed success with the pharmaceutical company, with his improvement ideas winning an award that made local headlines.
Having left Glaxo in 1964, Diane thinks her dad returned there from 1967 to 1973 so the family could return to live in Dalton. In 1973, Bill left Glaxo to open his own butcher’s shop until 1986. From 1981 until 1996, Bill was a director of Cumbria Entertainments, running Buffers.
At the end of his career, Bill re-trained and opened up a small shop making and selling computers in 1997. Even after retiring, Bill continued to work with computers, right up until his death in July 2019.
In 2017, Bill began to suffer from symptoms of shortness of breath, persistent cough, loss of appetite resulting in weight loss and chest pains. He was diagnosed is mesothelioma around 18 months before he sadly passed away.
Commenting on her father’s death, Diane said: “To lose dad in this way was very heart breaking. However, knowing what Dad’s diagnosis was and what the outcome would be doesn’t make things any easier and my two children have lost a much loved grandfather”.
“It was thought Dad’s brother came into contact with asbestos at work but Dad never worked with his brother and had no idea where he could have encountered the material. It was only through reading and research following his death that we feared Dad may have been exposed to asbestos at Glaxo’s.
“It is a long time ago, but hopefully some of Dad’s workmates might be able to shed some light and tell us what they know. The plant was a high security area and I never went there, so any detail former employees might have for us could be a big help.
“Dad never got the chance to get to the bottom of his illness but with help from his old friends and colleagues, hopefully we can in his memory. It would mean a lot to the family and we would be so grateful for any details we can discover.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sonia Akram at Sonia.Akram@Irwinmitchell.com or call 0191 434 0719.