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Widow Appeals For Husband’s Former Workmates To Come Forward

Stockton Woman Battles For Answers  



The widow of a man who died from an aggressive cancer linked to asbestos has made an appeal for his former work colleagues to come forward to help shed light on how her husband came into contact with the deadly material.

Sydney James George Laird, from Stockton on Tees, Cleveland, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2011 and died just five months later in July age 80.

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are helping Sydney’s wife, May, 70, in her battle for justice in her husband’s memory and are urging anyone who may have worked with Sydney or with the same companies - to come forward

From 1947 to 1949 and again from 1951 to 1954 Sydney worked as a marine engineer for Hall Russell & Company in Aberdeen. Before he died, he recalled that whilst working in the shipyard workshop other workers would be in there to lag engines with asbestos insulation that they wrapped around pipes of engine parts.

Sydney would also go on board boats to do repairs and maintenance and said the engines were lagged with asbestos insulation.

Whilst employed an instrument technician at ICI Billingham, Castle Works in Stockton-on-Tees from 1960 to 1983 Sydney repaired joints in pipes that were insulated using asbestos that he would have to cut open to see how badly the joint was leaking so it could be repaired.

Commenting on the loss of her husband, May says: “Sydney was such an active man before he got ill – he had lots of hobbies like restoring boats which he adored and he loved to play the bagpipes. He did some ink drawing too but when he got ill he had no energy to do most of the things he loved. He found it so frustrating and it was heartbreaking to see.

“I’m desperate to know exactly how he became so ill. If any of his former workmates can help us learn more about how Sydney was exposed to asbestos, I’d urge them to get in touch.”

May’s lawyer, Isobel Lovett, an asbestos expert in the Newcastle office of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: “Mesothelioma is an asbestos related cancer for which there is sadly no cure. 

"Through no fault of his own, simply by breathing the air at work, Sydney was exposed to asbestos and subsequently lost his life to this terrible disease. 

"I’d urge anyone who can shed any light on conditions at any of his former workplaces to get in touch. Even better if anyone remembers working with Sydney please let us know so we can help get justice and answers for May.”

Anyone with information should contact Isobel Lovett on 0191 2790104
or email isobel.lovett@irwinmitchell.com