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Former Metal Worker Diagnosed With Asbestos Cancer Speaks Of Devastation

Industrial Illness Experts Ask Former Colleagues For Help


A heartbroken grandfather-of-three who has been diagnosed with a terminal asbestos-related cancer is backing calls for his former metal worker colleagues to get in touch as they may hold vital information about how and why he came into contact with the deadly dust.

Les Mortlock, from Ware in Hertfordshire, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal cancer in the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos, in October 2012 leaving him, his wife of 49 years Pauline, their two daughters and three grandchildren devastated.

The 70-year-old has now instructed industrial illness experts at Irwin Mitchell in his battle for justice and is appealing for former colleagues at Tottenham heating and ventilation company, Keith Blackman Limited, where he worked as an apprentice sheet metal worker from 1957 to 1962, to get in touch.

It is hoped Les’ former co-workers may hold vital evidence about how he was exposed to asbestos where he was contracted to work, which will help in his battle for justice. Sites he recalls being sent to work at were the Mars factory in Slough and a rubber plant in Melton Mowbray.

Rosemary Giles, an asbestos expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing Les, said: “The Mortlock family are understandably devastated by Les’ terminal diagnosis and desperately want answers about where and why he came into contact with asbestos so they can begin to come to terms with it.

We would like to speak to his former colleagues to see if they have any information that will assist

“Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related illness for which there is sadly no cure. Employers have been well aware of the potential consequences of their staff coming into contact with the deadly material as far back as the 1950s and 60s so there is no excuse for staff not being protected.”

Les began suffering from shortness of breath and chest pains in early 2012 and a scan confirmed the heartbreaking news that he had terminal cancer.

Les said: “My work as an apprentice at Keith Blackman Limited involved manufacturing fans and ventilation units. I was mainly based on site but there were times where I would go on site visits to fit the equipment.

“When I worked on installation I often had to crawl through narrow roof spaces which contained pipe work which I believe were lagged with asbestos at that time.

“It’s just such a shock and is very hard for us all to come to terms with the fact that something I was exposed to so long ago, that I wasn’t warned about, has now caused me a terminal illness.

“I’ve had chemotherapy but we all know there’s not a lot the doctors can do. It would just give me some peace of mind, before I go, to know why this has happened and that my family will be financially stable once I am gone.

“I hope my former colleagues get in touch as any information, no matter how small, could help being justice for me.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact Rosemary Giles at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email rosemary.giles@irwinmitchell.com

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Mesothelioma claims