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Widow Of Former Council Worker Speaks Of Shock At His Death

Asbestos Disease Experts Appeal To Former Council Workers For Help


The devastated wife of a former Swale District Council worker who died of an asbestos-related cancer just weeks after being diagnosed with the killer disease is appealing to his former colleagues for help.

Edward Jacobs, known as Ted, died in November aged 77 of mesothelioma less than a month after finding out he had cancer.

The grandfather-of-six worked for Swale District Council and subsequently Swale Borough Council as a painter and decorator between 1976 and 1990 and, before his death, said he remembered working with asbestos guttering and artex – a surface coating for ceilings and walls which used to contain asbestos – at various council properties.

In the final years of his employment, Ted refused to work with asbestos guttering any longer as he was concerned about the impact it could have on his health after hearing about the risks, but tragically it was too late and the damage was already done.

Now, Anita has launched a battle to find out more about what happened to her husband with help from industrial illness experts at Irwin Mitchell, who are asking for Ted’s former council colleagues to get in touch as they may hold vital information.

Anita, 68, from Cromer in Norfolk, said: “Ted started struggling with breathing difficulties last year and in October he was sent for a biopsy. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma and less than a month later he died.

“We knew he wouldn’t have very long left but it was absolutely devastating when he passed away so soon. None of the family had any time to come to terms with his illness and we’re still in shock by the fact he is no longer here.

“I remember he disliked working with the asbestos gutters. He had to clean them and scrape away debris inside which was a very dusty job. By the end of his time at the council, he had heard about the dangers of asbestos so refused to work on asbestos gutters any longer. It’s just so sad that it was too late.

“I just hope Ted’s former council colleagues get in touch as we’re all desperate to see some justice for his death.”

Ted’s job as a council painter and decorator saw him work at schools, hospitals, swimming pools and council houses and expert asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell want to hear from any of his former colleagues that may have information about the presence of asbestos and working conditions at these sites.

Alice Humphreys, an asbestos disease expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing Anita in her battle for justice, said: “This is a tragic case that has left Ted’s family completely shocked by his sudden death from an illness that no one knew he had until less than a month before.

“At the time of Ted’s employment employers were well aware of the dangers of asbestos, and by the end of his career so was Ted, but it appears a failure to provide him with proper protective equipment has had fatal consequences.

“He worked with numerous other labourers and painters during his time at Swale Council and I am very keen to speak with these people as they may have vital information about the presence of asbestos and working practices that will bring justice for Ted’s family and provide them with financial security now that he has gone.”

Anyone who can help with any information is asked to contact Alice Humphreys at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 4730 or email alice.humphreys@irwinmitchell.com