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Widow Seeks Husband’s Former Car Factory Workmates After Asbestos Death

Appeal Launched In Battle For Justice


The devastated widow of a former British Leyland worker, who died of an asbestos-related disease, has launched an emotional appeal to win justice for her husband by asking people who may have worked with him to come forward.

Wilfred Arthur Allen (known as both Wilfred and Wilf by his workmates) from Great Barr in Birmingham was 72 when he died in April 2009 from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to deadly asbestos dust. An inquest held by HM Coroner for Birmingham in November that year confirmed that Mr Allen had died from an industrial disease.

With the help of specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, Wilfred’s widow, Joyce, is now seeking former work colleagues who may be able to provide additional information as to how he came into contact with the lethal fibres. She believes his health problems were caused during the fourteen years he spent working as a machine operator at the Drews Lane plant, initially when it was known as Morris Motors Ltd and later when it became British Leyland.

Commenting on her husband’s death, Mrs Allen said: “Wilfred worked at various departments on the Drews Lane site between 1962 and 1976. It was a massive plant and over the years he worked in B, C and K Blocks.

“He remembered there were a lot of exposed heating pipes in the ceilings which were covered in asbestos lagging. The machinery was very noisy and caused a lot of vibration.  He used to tell me that he could see clouds of dust floating around in the air.

“Wilfred worked hard all his life and to know his work is what killed him is hard to bear. Our two children David and Janet, have also been devastated by his death and we are all desperate to see justice done.”

Kim Barrett, a workplace illness expert with Irwin Mitchell solicitor’s Birmingham office, is representing the family. She said: “Wilfred knew that asbestos exposure was responsible for the aggressive cancer he had been diagnosed with. He underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and was determined to battle the illness for as long as possible. He was also determined to fight for justice and had commenced legal action just before his untimely death.

“In order to help his widow conclude the fight for justice, I would urge anyone who has information about working practices at the Drews Lane car plant between 1962 and 1975 to get in touch.”

Anyone who can help with any information is asked to contact Kim Barrett at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email kim.barrett@irwinmitchell.com