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Family Of Surrey Brewery Worker In Search For Workmates After Asbestos Death

Asbestos compensation case


The widow of a Surrey brewery worker, who died after being exposed asbestos, is appealing for former workmates to get in touch, to help her with her claim for compensation.

67 year old Albert David Dernia Thatcher, known as ‘Dernia’ to his friends, died on 13th September 2008 from mesothelioma, the fatal asbestos related cancer. Mr Thatcher had lived for most of his life in Mortlake, Surrey, before retiring to South Devon in December 2006.  He leaves behind a wife, Dorothy, two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren.

It is believed that Mr Thatcher was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres whilst working for Watney’s Brewery as a 15 year old cabin boy, running errands during the late 1950s.

The company, which is now trading as The Wine Exchange Ltd, was based in Mortlake. During his employment from 1956 to 1957, it is alleged that Mr Thatcher was exposed to the asbestos lagging around the pipes which ran throughout the factory.

Dorothy Thatcher’s search for information about how her husband died from an industrial illness is particularly poignant as it coincides with International Workers Memorial Day (Tuesday 28th April) which remembers workers who have been killed or injured as a result of their work.

Mrs Thatcher's commented: "Albert had always been a very fit and active man. “In his younger days he was a keen amateur boxer and was Surrey County Schools Champion in 1955.  We were married in 1964 and used to love camping and the outdoors.

"When we retired we bought a camper van so we could visit our family. In his spare time, Albert also enjoyed fishing, woodwork and DIY around the house.

"When he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2008 we were both absolutely devastated. From then on his condition began to deteriorate quite quickly. He lost his appetite and had great difficulty eating."

An Inquest into Mr Thatcher’s death took place at the Torbay and South Devon District Coroner’s Court on 9th December 2008, before Coroner, Ian Arrow, who recorded a verdict of Industrial Disease.

Tariq Khan a solicitor with national law firm Irwin Mitchell is representing Mr Thatcher’s widow in her legal claim. He said: “Workers Memorial Day is a time for reflection and to remember workers like Albert, who have been killed through simply trying to earn a living.

"Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related disease, for which there sadly is no cure. Although it can take upwards of 20 years from exposure to onset of the illness, once diagnosed it can be very aggressive and painful.

"The inquest showed that he died as a result of industrial disease and it is vital, in order for his family to continue with this claim for compensation, that people who have information concerning the working practices at Watney’s Brewery, come forward and assist us with our enquires."

Anyone who is able to help in this matter can contact Tariq Khan at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or tariq.khan@irwinmitchell.com