Information Sought On Working Conditions At Epsom, Sandown and Kempton
The widow of a former carpenter and racecourse project manager from Surrey is appealing to her husband’s former workmates for help following his death from asbestos-related cancer.
Reginald ‘Reg’ Hopkins, 77 from Esher, died from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following her husband’s death, his wife, Linda Hopkins, 74, instructed asbestos-related disease specialists at Irwin Mitchell to investigate where her husband’s asbestos exposure may have taken place.
Linda has now joined her legal team in appealing for any of Reg’s former workmates to come forward with information on the conditions he may have worked under.
They are particularly keen to trace anyone who worked with Reg at The Jockey Club (formerly United Racecourses) where he was employed as a carpenter and project manager for 42 years, from 1972 to 2006, working at Epsom, Sandown and Kempton Park.
Expert Opinion“Reginald’s diagnosis and death came as a real shock to the family, who are still coming to terms with the untimely loss of a much loved husband, father and grandfather.
“Reg was unable to pass on much information on his employment to Linda before he died, so the family are keen to trace his former workmates in their search for the truth.
Nothing can bring Reg back, but any information workmates can supply, not matter how small, could prove vital to the investigation and give Linda and the family the answers and closure they are looking for.” Laura Morrison - Solicitor
Born in Esher, Surrey in 1942, Reg married Linda in 1967 and the couple have one daughter, Therese Ryan, 54 and three grandsons.
Reg initially began work for The Jockey Club in 1972 as a carpenter, before being promoted to project manager, working on a number of the buildings at Sandown Park Racecourse. The projects Reg worked on included renovation work to the groundsmen’s cottages, the re-fit of public buildings on the racecourse and general maintenance work.
On his promotion to project manager in the 1980s, Reg was put in charge of work at Epsom, Sandown Park and Kempton Park. Reg told Linda of one occasion where he was asked to demolish an old building at Epsom (the Old White House) close to a pub called the Derby Arms, where he thought he may have encountered asbestos.
When Reg came home that day, his boiler suit was covered in white dust and while he had not known there was asbestos in the building prior to starting the demolition project, he reported it to his superior John Eggington and the team was stopped from doing further work.
Reg retired in 2006 and prior to his mesothelioma diagnosis, he was a fit and active man. He played bowls, bridge, snooker and squash on a regular basis and looked to live his retirement to the full. He particularly enjoyed taking long-haul holidays with Linda to exotic locations around the world, including Dubai and Mauritius.
Reg had been in good health until he began experiencing symptoms following a holiday in Vietnam in 2007, a cough which he thought was a bad cold. His GP sent him for an X-Ray and he was told something had been seen in them related to asbestos exposure.
Reg was told there was nothing to worry about without further symptoms and on recovering from the chest infection, got on with his retirement and tried not to worry about it.
His symptoms returned while on holiday with Linda in Turkey in September, 2019 and on returning to the UK, a series of tests and X-Rays were performed and mesothelioma was diagnosed in late September.
The doctors said nothing could be done and Reg was sent to the Princess Alice Hospice, but was only there a week before he died on 28 November, 2019.
Speaking about her husband and the appeal, Linda Hopkins said: “Losing Reg in this way has been extremely difficult and I miss him terribly. It has been such a huge change to my life, as we did everything together.
We had a lovely life together, travelling all around the world and I am devastated he has passed away. He was taken too soon and so quickly. It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks after that perfect holiday I would be facing life without him.
“Reg was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather and he did not deserve to have his life cut short like this. It was a blessing we had that last, lovely holiday together, but he died so quickly, he didn’t have the chance he wanted to investigate his illness in more detail. It was all so sudden, none of us had the opportunity to come to terms with it all before he died.
“Reg wanted to know the truth about how he encountered asbestos, so it seems only right now to continue to investigate in his memory. If any of his former workmates can come forward and help us, it would mean a lot. No one deserves this to happen to them, so if someone out there can help us, it will allow Reg to rest in peace.”
Anyone with information regarding this case can contact Laura Morrison on 0207 400 8778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org