Information Sought In South Yorkshire As Family And Lawyers Support Major Awareness Campaign
The widow of a former Sheffield electrician is appealing to her husband’s former workmates for information following his death from asbestos-related cancer.
Geoffrey Lawrence Wheeler, also known as Geoff, died aged 71, from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following Geoff’s death, his widow Vicky Wheeler, 62, of Woodseats, Sheffield, instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how her husband developed the illness and if it was linked to his work history.
Ahead of this year’s Workers’ Memorial Day on Friday, 28 April, Vicky has now joined with her legal team in appealing for anyone who worked with Geoff to come forward and provide information about the conditions he faced during his career.
They are looking to trace anyone who worked alongside Geoff during his career as an electrician with Sheffield based FH Wheeler & Co/Wheeler Crittall Berry Ltd and Crown House Engineering from 1966 to 1974; HJ Couzens based in Sheffield from 1977-78 and Sheffield based NG Bailey from 1974 to 1977. During his career Geoff worked on construction sites, including hospitals.
Expert Opinion“Geoff’s family have been devastated by his death. Vicky is understandably still coming to terms with life without him and what this means for her future.
“Our own research has shown that many public buildings throughout the country continue to contain asbestos and at present, there are no plans to remove it.
“Through our work, we see many families whose lives have been devastated by asbestos and Geoff’s death is another reminder of the legacy of asbestos exposure and the pain and suffering it can cause, many years after the initial exposure may have taken place.
“Vicky has many concerns about how Geoff was exposed to asbestos and we’re determined to help her find the answers she is looking for.
“Nothing can bring Geoff back but we can help give the family some closure on what happened. Therefore we’d be grateful to hear from anyone who worked alongside Geoff on a number of projects in throughout Yorkshire in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
“It would mean a lot to Vicky if anyone with information could come forward. It could be the key to providing her with the answers she deserves following such a distressing period for the family.” Nick Woods - Associate Paralegal
Geoff started working for NG Bailey in 1974 and was initially based on jobs in the Bradford area before working in Sheffield from 1976 onwards.
Geoff worked on a number of projects while employed by NG Bailey, including the construction of hospitals. During this time, the electricians would be working very close to other trades on site.
Having carried out some initial enquiries regarding the nature of the work done by the employers in question, Nick believes that Geoff would possibly have been working on construction sites alongside other tradesmen such as joiners and laggers, who would quite likely have been working with asbestos materials as was typical of the time.
Geoff was a lifelong Sheffield United supporter and in addition to the football, he was an enthusiastic family tree researcher, tracing the family back to the 1500’s. This research had taken Geoff and Vicky around the UK and Ireland.
There were many memorable family holidays, particularly when the grandchildren arrived and in retirement, Geoff had adopted a four-legged friend in the form of Dexter the dog, whom he enjoyed walking in and around Sheffield and at the family holiday home.
Geoff had always been in good health until he began to suffer with breathing problems, resulting in him being admitted to A&E with blood clots in his lungs in March 2020.
Geoff was then admitted to A&E again in January 2022 with severe nose bleeds and breathing problems and he was referred for tests, which led to mesothelioma being diagnosed in February 2022.
Geoff died on 8 February, 2022, with Vicky by his side at home.
Vicky said: “Geoff was such a loving and caring man, a hard worker who had time for everyone and was remembered by all who came into contact with him.
“After his diagnosis, Geoff told me his work would often be dusty and dirty and how he’d heard other ex-workmates had also died of asbestos-related diseases.
“Geoff had all many years ahead of him. Our plans for the future and retirement dreams are now in ruins. He didn’t deserve to have his final years snatched away from him by this disease.
“If anyone can help us, it would mean a lot to finally have the answers and allow Geoff to rest in peace.”
Anyone with information that could help Vicky is asked to contact Nick Woods at Irwin Mitchell on 0114 274 4292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April remembers those who have died as a result of their employment, and campaigns to improve health and safety standards in the workplace and increase protection for employees.