Information Sought on Father-Of-Two’s Work at Fibre Resin Developments on Isle of Wight
The children of a former factory worker who died from asbestos-related cancer are appealing to his former workmates for help in discovering how he was exposed to the material that claimed his life.
Ramon Lewis died three months after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following his diagnosis, Ramon, of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and if it could be linked to his work history.
However, he died aged 80 before he could see his case concluded. Following his death, Ramon’s children, daughter Claire, 55, and son Philip, 52, are continuing their dad’s search for answers in his memory.
Ramon joined Fibre Resin in 1962 when it was located at Clarence Road. He worked there until the firm moved to Kingston Road in around 1970. Ramon then worked at the Kingston Road site until 1986 when the firm closed down.
Ramon’s children have now joined the legal team in appealing for their dad’s past workmates to come forward. They are keen to hear from anyone who worked with Ramon at Fibre Resin Developments, particularly at the Kingston Road site in East Cowes, from 1970 to 1986.
Expert Opinion“Ramon’s death is another reminder of the terrible legacy that asbestos has created. What makes it even more distressing for the family is that Ramon’s death came so soon after that of his wife.
“Nothing can bring Ramon back, but if any of his former workmates have information on the working conditions he faced, the family will be so grateful. Any detail could prove vital as Claire and Philip look to honour their dad’s memory and to try and look to move on from what has been a traumatic period in their lives the best they can.” Nicola Maier - Partner
On leaving school aged 14 in 1953, Ramon had several different jobs locally, including on private yachts as a deckhand, in between his National Service in 1960.
Ramon was employed by Fibre Resin Developments from 1962 until the firm closed in 1986. The firm was best known for the manufacture of the backs for television cabinets and car door panels.
Starting on the shop floor, Ramon recalled using six large camel back ovens, which he believed were of made up of asbestos sheeting an inch thick, inside a mental frame. Once the products had been ‘formed’, they would be pushed on trollies into the ovens.
Ramon was involved in the production and finishing work and was employed using the ovens for 48 hours a week. Even when he was asked to set up a paint shop, he still worked with the ovens. The paint shop had to be kept clear of dust, and one of Ramon’s other tasks was to sweep up the accumulated dust every day.
In around 1970, the firm moved to its site on Kingston Road, which involved the dismantling of the ovens, which then had to be re-assembled at the new location.
Ramon also said he worked with tradesmen to apply further lagging to the ovens, mixing paste in large drums to be applied to various other pieces of equipment. The new lagging included wire netting, which was then coated in plaster.
On leaving the firm, Ramon went on to be a hospital porter, until his retirement in 2002.
Away from work, Ramon was fit, healthy and led an active life. He enjoyed gardening and fishing and would always do the family shopping. A dedicated family man, Ramon also enjoyed spending time with his wife and children. Ramon had been the sole career for wife Molly until she died in April 2020, which made Ramon’s mesothelioma diagnosis even harder for the family to cope with.
Ramon began to suffer with breathlessness just after Christmas in 2019. Following tests he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2020 and died in June 2020.
Claire said: “Dad was such a great man. He worked hard his whole life and even in retirement, spent a lot of his time caring for mum’.
“Losing mum was terrible and hit us all hard but when dad was diagnosed with mesothelioma it made things so much more difficult. We never imagined it could all happen so fast or he could be taken from us so quickly’.
“Dad was a practical man and even though he was so ill in those final months, he made every effort to get to the bottom of his asbestos exposure and even that has been taken from him’.
“Nothing can bring mum and dad back but we can see that dad’s final wishes are carried out and finish the search for answers that meant so much to him.
“If anyone who worked with dad in the past could come forward and help us, it would mean a lot. I’m not sure our lives can ever be the same again with mum and dad gone but getting the answers dad wanted is the least we can do for him now and allow him to rest in peace.”
If anyone with information is asked to contact Nicola Maier at Irwin Mitchell on 02380 930 702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org