Family Appeal For Information From Old Workmates Who Worked At Rank Xerox After Granddad Dies Four Months After Mesothelioma Diagnosis
The family of a former maintenance electrician are appealing to his former workmates for information following his death from asbestos-related cancer.
Reginald (known as Reg) Woodley, from Welwyn Garden City, died from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following his diagnosis, Reg instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and whether it was linked to his work history. However, the 77-year-old died before he could see his case concluded.
Reg’s family, led by wife Joyce, 78 and daughter Yvonne, 56, are now continuing the search for answers in his memory. They have now joined with their legal team at Irwin Mitchell to appeal for any of Reg’s old workmates to come forward with information on the conditions he would have worked under.
They are keen to trace anyone who worked with Reg while he was a maintenance electrician at Rank Xerox in Bessemer Road, Welwyn Garden City, from 1969 until 1984.
Expert Opinion“Joyce and the rest of Reg’s family remain devastated following the loss of a much-loved husband, dad and granddad, who was taken away too soon by mesothelioma. His death is another devastating reminder of the dangers of asbestos and the terrible legacy it’s created.
“While nothing can bring Reg back, we’re determined to continue supporting his family as they seek to honour his memory by getting to the truth surrounding his exposure to asbestos.
“The family would be grateful to hear from anyone who worked with Reg and who has any details about the conditions he would have worked in.
Any information could prove vital to our investigation and bring some closure to a family who can’t rest until they have the answers concerning Reg’s illness.” Stephen Fitzwalter, Associate Solicitor
Born in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, Reg was raised in Whitwell, Hertfordshire and on leaving school aged 15 in 1958, began work as an apprentice electrician. Reg was employed by several different firms before moving to Rank Xerox as a maintenance electrician in 1969.
The firm was based in Bessemer Road, Welwyn Garden City and at the time Reg and Joyce lived in Codicote, Hertfordshire. In addition to producing printers, the factory also housed a research and development centre. For the next 15 years, Reg worked in the office blocks, the factory, canteen and boiler room. He specifically recalled removing lagging which may have contained asbestos in the boiler room when he was stripping the motor out.
Reg laid cables in ducts alongside pipes. To reach these, false ceilings, which he suspected contained asbestos, would need to be removed, which he recalled were made of asbestos. This created large amounts of dust, which he remembered falling into his hair and clothes.
Reg married Joyce in 1966 and the couple had one daughter, Yvonne, as well as a 17-year-old granddaughter and 15-year old-grandson. In addition to spending time with his family, Reg was a keen gardener and held down five allotments, before his mesothelioma diagnosis forced him to scale this back to just two.
In August 2019, Reg began having pain and felt a lump in his chest. After the lump became bigger, he was referred by his GP for hospital tests. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma just before Christmas the same year.
Doctors discussed treatment options with Reg, including chemotherapy, but his condition deteriorated. He died in on 19 April, 2020.
Yvonne said: “Losing dad was such a shock and we’re all still coming to terms with it. Mum has not been well with MS and dad was such a big help and comfort to her that his death has been particularly hard to take. Dad was in good health before he started experiencing pain. We hoped with treatment, he could fight the cancer but it wasn’t to be and in less than four months, he was gone.
“Dad was an amazing person and it’s easy to forget the impact his death has had on my own children and our wider family and friends. He loved spending time with the family and it’s those times we miss the most.
“Dad never had the chance to finish finding the answers. It now seems the right time to continue that search in his memory. Dad said at one point he was working with 20 other maintenance staff, so we’re hoping someone out there remembers him and could come forward.
“We’d love to hear from his former workmates and hopefully the full story will give mum and all the family some closure after what has been a terrible experience for all of us.”
Anyone who can help the family is asked to contact Stephen Fitzwalter at Irwin Mitchell on Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07795 915 567.