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Former Builder Left Housebound After Contracting Asbestos Disease

Construction Worker Appeals For Former Colleagues To Help In Battle For Justice


A retired bricklayer left housebound by an asbestos-related lung disease is appealing for his former work colleagues to help with an investigation into why he was exposed to the deadly dust.

John Chapman enjoyed an active social life until he was diagnosed with pleural thickening, an asbestos-related lung disease, last month but has now been left breathless and too tired to go out as much as he used to.

Industrial illness experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell are now helping John in his battle for justice and are investigating where and why he was exposed to asbestos.

John said: “I can’t go out much anymore because of my illness and it means I can no longer do things I love.  I used to play bowls four or five times a week. This year I won’t be able to play at all, which is incredibly sad for me. Going to the green with my friends was at the centre of my social life.

“I used to enjoy cooking and gardening regularly too but now even these simple hobbies are too tiring. Many of the tasks people take for granted have just become too difficult because they leave me completely out of breath.”

John, from Houghton-le-Spring, worked at Isaac Berriman Limited between 1953 and 1964 as a bricklayer and site foreman. He believes he was exposed to the deadly dust when working with asbestos sheets that were cut and drilled to make roofs. 

Later in his career he worked for Kendall Cross (Holdings) Limited on various projects in the Newcastle area. He says he was again exposed to the dangerous asbestos fibres when supervising the work of colleagues to replace lagging on pipework at a school and while working on the conversion of a building into a shop.

Isobel Lovett, an industrial illness expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “John worked long, hard hours on many construction sites throughout his career and should now be spending his well-earned retirement years doing the things he enjoys. Sadly, he is unable to do this because of the lasting impact caused by the deadly asbestos dust.

“I urge anyone who worked for Isaac Berriman in the 1950s and 1960s or knows anything about the conditions at the company to contact me to help us with our investigation. Equally, we want to speak to people who worked at Kendall Cross between 1966 and 1992 or who may know about the conditions at this company as well.

“The dangers of asbestos were known well before John started working, and yet his employers continued to put him at risk rather than ensure his safety.”

Anybody with any relevant information should contact Isobel Lovett on 0191 279 0104 or at isobel.lovett@irwinmitchell.com