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Asbestos Victim Never Got To Meet Grandchild

Expert Lawyer Calls On Former Colleagues To Get In Touch


The devastated widow of a man who died from an asbestos related disease just three days after Christmas is appealing to his former colleagues to help her win justice for her husband’s death.

Steve Gibson, 60, from Torquay, died on 28 December 2011, just seven weeks after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, leaving behind his distraught wife Cathy, 61, two children and a grandchild he never got to meet.

Deputy Coroner Deborah Archer recorded a verdict of death by industrial disease at an inquest into his death earlier this month (4 April) at Torquay Coroners Court.
After receiving his heartbreaking diagnosis, Steve, who had just started his own business, told Cathy he be remembered being exposed to asbestos when he worked for a year at the Standard Telephone & Cables factory in Paignton from 1969 working on a production line.

Now, with the help of industrial illness specialists at law firm Irwin Mitchell in Bristol, Cathy is appealing to anyone who remembers asbestos being present whilst working at Paignton Factory, to get in touch with any information that might help bring justice for her tragic loss.

Cathy said: “We were absolutely devastated when we were told Steve’s diagnosis and he racked his brains to think what may have happened.

“He could also vividly recall the laggers at the factory in Paignton as they had such a huge task involving asbestos. He said he remembered workers 2-3 feet ahead of him who were lagging the extensive pipework factory, mixing up asbestos powder in huge drums with water to form the asbestos paste before applying it to the paintwork.”

Before Steve died, he had just purchased his own business, Action Consultants Training, and was looking forward to making it a success so he could enjoy a long retirement with Cathy.

Not long after the diagnosis, their daughter Emily announced she was expecting her first child in April 2012 and would call him Thomas Stephen, after his granddad. Steve was delighted, but sadly they never got to meet.

Cathy added: “I still can’t believe he’s gone. It all happened so quickly. We had so much planned for the coming years and he was fit and healthy until only a short time ago.

“He prayed he would get to meet his first grandchild as he was so excited when Emma announced her news, but sadly it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Emily is now fundraising for Mesothelioma UK at the Margum Park Kite Festival in Wales on 3 and 4 June after her father arranged the first one back in 1994 and ran his own kite shop in Hereford in the 1990s.

Helen Grady, an asbestos related disease expert at Irwin Mitchell said: “Steve’s is a tragic case and his death has left his family devastated.

“He recalled vast amounts of asbestos being present at the Standard Telephone & Cables factory when he worked there from 1969 to 1970 and I’m very keen to speak to any past or present employees that share this memory.

“The dangers of asbestos were known to employers from at least the early part of the last century and I hope with help from Mr Gibson’s former colleagues, his devoted family get answers about where he came into contact with the dust and see justice for his death.”

Anyone who can help with any information is asked to contact Helen Grady at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email helen.grady@irwinmitchell.com