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‘Dust From Dad’s Overalls’ May Have Led To Daughter's Terminal Asbestos Cancer

Coventry woman diagnosed with mesothelioma


A 58 year old woman, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive asbestos related cancer, believes her illness may have been caused by lethal dust and fibres brought home on her father’s work overalls when she was a child.

Judith Tomlinson, formerly from Shirley in Birmingham was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest lining, in December 2008. The former office worker, who now lives in Baggington near Coventry, is hoping her father’s former work colleagues may have vital information which will reveal how she came to contract this terminal illness.

Judith’s father Roland Adcock, known as Bob to his workmates, was employed as a foreman by Mason McCabe from 1958 to 1982. The Acocks Green based general maintenance firm, which is no longer trading, sent Mr Adcock to work on the company’s maintenance contract at the Castle Bromwich site of Fisher Ludlow and it is believed that during the course of his employment he may have been exposed to asbestos. Mr Adcock died in April 2004 from prostate cancer aged 89.

Judith Tomlinson recalls: “My father used to come home from work covered in dirt and dust.  His routine on entering the house would be to have a drink, chat with family members and give me a hug. He would then take off his dirty clothes and have a bath.  I helped my mother with the chores around the house, which included putting my dad’s work clothes in our old-fashioned twin tub washing machine. They were so filthy that they had to go through a wash on their own.
“Dad didn’t have a car but we used the firm’s van. He would carry his tools and materials in the back during the week, so it was often dirty and dusty when the family – dad, mum, my two brothers and I - went out in it. I was about 12 when he had the van and he still had it when I left home in 1974.”

Mrs Tomlinson understands that her father’s duties involved him working with asbestos.

“In addition to his bricklaying he used to have to demolish old buildings. Knowing the construction industry, in those days there was a lot of asbestos used in the construction of the buildings,” she said.

Industrial illness specialist, Iain Shoolbred, from the Birmingham office of Irwin Mitchell solicitors, is representing Mrs Tomlinson in her legal claim for compensation.

He commented: "Judith was just 58 years old when she was diagnosed at University Hospital in Coventry with mesothelioma. She has undergone radiotherapy and is currently responding very well to treatment although she is aware that the long prognosis for this illness is not good.

“Although the disease traditionally affects people who have directly been exposed to asbestos during the course of their work, we have sadly seen an increase in the number of cases involving family members who have been exposed to asbestos whilst laundering contaminated work clothes.

“Although Mrs Tomlinson and her brothers have been able to provide us with information about how she came into contact with dust and debris from her father’s workplace, it is vital that Roland Adcock’s former work colleagues also come forward to help us shed more light on the working practises of each of these former employers.”

“We are urgently seeking information from anyone who knew about the working conditions at Mason McCabe and Fisher & Ludlow between 1958 and 1982.

“Anyone with any information regarding these firms from between 1960 to 1982 should contact Iain Shoolbred at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or via iain.shoolbred@irwinmitchell.com