Information Sought On Working Conditions At Dexion Ltd And Southern Counties Storage
The daughter of a carpenter 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.
Francis Brown, 85, from Hayes in Hillingdon, died on 17 March, 2021, from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following her dad’s death, Francis’ daughter, Janice Griffin, 61, instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate where her father’s asbestos exposure occurred.
Janice has now joined the legal team in appealing for her dad’s former workmates to come forward with details of the conditions he worked under.
They are keen to trace anyone who remembers Francis from his time as a carpenter at Dexion Ltd, at Stonebridge Park London, off the North Circular Road from 1961 until 1978. They also want to hear from people with information about Southern Counties Storage Equipment, in Uxbridge, where Francis worked from 1978 until 1991.
Expert Opinion“Through our work, we see the terrible impact mesothelioma has on people and their families. Francis’s death is the latest example of this.
“Janice and the rest of the family have been left devastated by Francis’s death and understandably have a number of concerns about his exposure to asbestos.
“While nothing can make up for their loss we’re determined to support Janice and the family in their search for the truth.
“Any information Francis’ former workmates could supply could prove vital in providing the family with the answers they deserve.” Paul Ramsay - Solicitor, Scottish Qualified
Francis was born in Paddington, London in 1936 and married Judith Ann Brown in 1958. The couple had two children, daughter Janice Griffin, 61 and son Gary Brown, 63.
On leaving school, Francis served a carpentry apprenticeship for six years in Pall Mall and was also employed on Kensington High Street, before starting work at Dexion Ltd in 1961.
While at Dexion, a former workmate recalled the pair working on a new staircase in the firm’s offices at Stonebridge Park. He recalled the use of asbestos boards for the construction of the staircase, which Francis would cut to size in the workshop using a circular saw. The process generated a great deal of dust, and neither man had a mask or protective equipment, the man said.
In 1978, Francis began working for Southern Counties Storage Equipment Ltd until 1991. The firm were fitters of Dexion shelving products and his role with both firms consisted of general carpentry, installing shelving systems and the removal of old work and asbestolux fire proofing.
Outside of work, Francis played football as a younger man and was always a keen golfer, particularly in retirement, playing with his grandsons and friends twice a week. He also enjoyed watching and betting on greyhound racing.
Francis started displaying symptoms of breathlessness in December 2020. He was admitted to Hillingdon hospital on 28 February, 2021, where he was found to have two-and-a-half litres of fluid in his lungs.
Following a biopsy Francis was diagnosed with mesothelioma on 2 March 2021. His condition deteriorated rapidly and Francis died surrounded by his family on 17 March, 2021.
Speaking about her dad and the appeal, Janice Griffin said: “To see dad decline so rapidly was devastating to watch. He had been fit and well until he started suffering from breathlessness. We were shocked to learn the problem was mesothelioma.
“If anyone who remembers dad from his time at Dexion or Southern Counties could come forward with information it could make all the difference to us.
“Dad was a wonderful father and husband and didn’t deserve to have this disease cut his life short in such a horrible way.
“We know nothing can make up for what has happened but we want to honour dad’s memory by at least establishing answers on his behalf.”
Anyone who has information that could help the family is asked to contact Paul Ramsay at Irwin Mitchell on 0203 0403 489 or email firstname.lastname@example.org