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Widow Of A ‘True Sheffielder’ Appeals For Information About His Asbestos Exposure

Former Mechanic Died After 6-Month Battle With Mesothelioma


By Suzanne Rutter

The devastated widow of a father-of-four, who was described by his family as a ‘true Sheffielder’ has made an emotional appeal for his former colleagues to come forward with crucial information to help lawyers investigate how he was exposed to asbestos.

Jackie Headley, of Beaver Hill Road, Sheffield, has asked asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether her husband Roger was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres whilst employed as a mechanic at the City Road Garage on City Road, Sheffield and later with the Hillsborough Garage & Motor Co Ltd, Hillsborough, Sheffield. Hillsborough Garage & Motor took over City Road Garage and Roger Headley worked for them from around 1963 to 1965.

Roger also came into contact with asbestos containing materials, such as brake linings and clutches, when he worked as a mechanic for Kennings between about 1967 until about 1970 based on Canklow Road, in Rotherham.

In 1970, Roger began working for Ambrose Shardlow, later known as GKN Shardlow Limited and now Bifranji UK Limited. He also did a couple of six month stints working in the mechanics’ shop which is where he may have come into contact with asbestos when working on brakes and clutches.
Roger worked for Ambrose Shardlow and Co on Grange Mill Lane, Meadowhall, for almost 40 years, from 1970 to 2009.

The 65-year-old died on 26 December 2010 after losing his battle with the asbestos-related terminal cancer, mesothelioma. The father-of-four and grandfather-of-five spent his final hours enjoying Christmas dinner with his family.

Martyn Hayward, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office representing Jackie, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress for victims like Roger and their families. Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure, despite knowing how dangerous it is.

“We hope that Roger’s former co-workers from  Hillsborough Garage, Kennings and Ambrose Shardlow will come forward to help answer the many questions his family has about his exposure to asbestos as well as what measures, if any, were in place to protect employees like him. It’s important that we now help his family get answers about his exposure to the deadly material so they can honour his memory and get the justice they deserve.”

Roger, who grew up in Skye Edge before moving to Woodhouse after marrying Jackie in 1966, first started to show the debilitating symptoms of mesothelioma in the summer of 2010 when he began suffering from recurrent chest infections, a persistent cough and breathlessness. In July 2010, he was referred to the chest clinic at the Northern General where further tests and scans confirmed the heartbreaking news that he was suffering from mesothelioma.

Roger underwent chemotherapy at Weston Park Hospital but on 22 December 2010 doctors said they could not do anything more for him and he sadly passed away on Boxing Day.

Jackie said: “Roger was a true Sheffielder – a real working man who wanted to support his family. Losing him at Christmas was exceptionally hard and the holidays will always be a reminder of our loss.

He suffered a great deal due to his illness before he eventually passed away and it was heartbreaking to watch him suffer. His breathing deteriorated and he quickly became less active and mobile.

“Nothing can bring him back but we hope as many of his ex work mates as possible will help Irwin Mitchell find out more information about how he was exposed to asbestos and if anything more could potentially have been done to protect him from the dangerous dust.

“Nothing can bring him back but we just want to get to the bottom of where he was exposed to asbestos. If anyone remembers working with him, I urge them to come forward and help us.”

Anyone with information about how asbestos was used at City Road Garage, Hillsborough Garage, Kennings and Ambrose Shardlow should contact Martyn Hayward at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office on 0114 274 4420 or email martyn.hayward@irwinmitchell.com.