Information Sought From Colleagues Who Worked at Hillyers Bakery In Farncombe
The wife of a former baker is appealing to his former workmates for help following his death from asbestos-related cancer.
Geoffrey Snelling, 74 from Goldaming, Surrey died from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Prior to his death, Geoffrey had instructed asbestos-related disease specialists at Irwin Mitchell to investigate if his exposure to asbestos was linked to his work history. However, he died before he could see his case concluded.
Following his death, Geoffrey’s widow Ann, 79, is continuing her husband’s search for answers in his memory.
Ann has now joined the legal team in appealing to Geoffrey’s former workmates to come forward with information on the working conditions he may have faced during his career.
They are particularly looking to hear from anyone who worked with Geoffrey during his 15 years as a baker at Hillyers Bakery in Farncombe, from 1961 until 1976.
Expert Opinion“As the anniversary of Geoffrey’s death approaches, Ann and the family are still struggling to come to terms with what his loss has meant to them and what the future will bring without him.
“Geoffrey’s death is yet another reminder of the dreadful legacy of asbestos. While nothing can bring Geoffrey back we’re determined to help Ann as she looks to complete the search for answers in her husband’s memory.
“Geoffrey died before he could give Ann any further details of his work history, so if any of his old colleagues could come forward, it could make all the difference to providing his family with the answers they deserve.” Paul Ramsay - Scottish Qualified Solicitor
Born in 1947, Geoffrey grew up in Goldaming, Surrey. He went to school in Farncombe.
In 1961, Geoffrey joined Hillyers Bakery straight out of school. They were based in Farncombe. He remained there for the next 15 years, before leaving in 1976. He initially worked as a baker in their factory in Farncombe.
He recalled the bakery having massive ovens that were used to bake the bread. He had to clean the ovens on a regular basis - those of which were also subject to maintenance. It is believed that the ovens may have been insulated with asbestos materials. Geoffrey remembered there being a lot of dust in the factory whilst he was working. He eventually moved into the sales side of the bakery before he left in 1976.
Geoffrey started experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma in October 2020. He noticed that he was struggling with his breathing, and had an unusual cough. With COVID-19 around at the time, he believed he could have been suffering from coronavirus.
He returned a negative test, so decided to make an appointment with his GP. His GP referred him for an x-ray, and it was found that Geoffrey had fluid covering his ribs. He immediately had the fluid drained. It was after this, that he was told of his diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Geoffrey went through three rounds of immunotherapy in an attempt to slow the progression of his disease. He underwent a whole blood transfusion during the treatment. Sadly he was told that the treatment was not working for him.
By July 2021, Geoffrey was receiving 24 hour care at home from Ann and his family. Geoffrey died on 22 October, 2021, with Ann and his family by his side.
Prior to his mesothelioma diagnosis, Geoffrey was a fit and active man. He and Ann enjoyed holidays together, and with their family. He was a popular figure around Aldershot, and was known by many. Geoff used to race pigeons as a hobby, and attended race meets. He was also keen gardener.
Ann said: “The last few months since Geoffrey’s death have been terrible for me and the family. I still think of him every day. Time doesn’t seem to make things any easier when an empty home is a constant reminder of the fact he won’t be coming back through the door.
“Geoffrey was such a kind man, with never a bad word for anyone. He was great company and it’s hard to think that he’s no longer part of our future.
“The cancer progressed so fast that we didn’t discuss his work history in any detail. He thought he would have the time to seek the answers himself but it wasn’t to be. Now, I want to do what I can to discover what really happened and do this last service for him. It’s the least I can do.
“If any of Geoffrey’s former colleagues could come forward, I’d be so grateful. I know it’s not always easy to come forward but anything they know could be a big help in securing the answers that Geoffrey was so keen to find.”
Anyone with information that could help Ann is asked to contact Paul Ramsay at Irwin Mitchell on 0203 0403 389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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