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Asbestos Worker’s Widow Appeals For Late Husband’s Work Colleagues To Help Investigation

Devoted Wife Diagnosed With Mesothelioma 10 Years After Husband’s Death


The widow of a former storeman at a builders merchants whose husband worked with asbestos every day is calling for his ex colleagues to help expert industrial disease lawyers in her battle for justice after she developed mesothelioma she believes was caused by washing his overalls.

Peter Marsh, of Leigh near Wigan, died aged 69 in 2002 leaving behind his devoted wife Doreen after 44 years of marriage. Doreen was given the devastating news in August 2012 that she was suffering from the incurable cancer mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

The 75-year-old believes she came into contact with asbestos by washing Peter’s dusty overalls and work clothes every week, which he brought home from his job at Albion Builders Suppliers Ltd, based on Canal Wharf in Leigh.

Doreen has now instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office and together they are appealing to Peter’s ex work colleagues to come forward with information about the working conditions at Albion Builders.

Peter joined the company aged 15 in 1948 and worked at the builders merchants until he was 63 years old, apart from a brief stint away between 1950 to 1952 when he did his National Service.

The company sold building and plumbing equipment and supplies, including asbestos sheets, and Peter was responsible for selling the products in the yard. He would often help customers load the asbestos sheets onto their wagons and he finished his shift every day covered in dust.

Charlotte Hobday, a specialist industrial illness solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing Doreen, said: “Asbestos-related diseases are such debilitating conditions which can have a devastating impact on the lives of victims and their families. Unfortunately, we see far too many cases like this of people who have never worked with asbestos themselves but came into contact with the deadly dust by simply washing their partner’s work clothes.

“Peter was never warned about how asbestos could dramatically affect the health of his loved ones or advised not to take his dusty overalls home.

“We hope Peter’s ex work colleagues will come forward with information about the working conditions at Albion Builders so we can honour his memory and get Doreen the justice she deserves.”

Doreen first started to show the symptoms of mesothelioma a year ago when she began feeling breathless and by June 2012 her doctor sent her to Wigan Infirmary for tests and scans to investigate what he suspected was a lung condition. A Macmillan nurse eventually broke the devastating news to Doreen that she was suffering from mesothelioma four months ago and she has since undergone chemotherapy at Wythenshawe Hospital.

Doreen said: “Peter was such a hard worker and dedicated almost all of his working life to Albion Builders.  He enjoyed the work but it was a dirty and dusty job and he’d come home every evening with filthy overalls.

“I first started to feel ill about a year ago but it started to get a lot worse in the summer when I went to a rugby match with my daughter and I couldn’t catch my breath walking to the stadium. It was frightening for all of us because we didn’t know what was wrong.

“It’s devastating to think that I’ve ended up so poorly just because Peter went to work every day. It’s been really hard for me and my family to come to terms with the diagnosis of mesothelioma.

“I think he would also feel frustrated and angry that nothing was done to protect us from the horrible effects of asbestos because he was never warned that it could be dangerous or that he should be careful about exposing his family to it.

“I hope that Peter’s ex work colleagues come forward to help with our appeal for information about the working conditions at Albion Builders so that we can hold his employers to account and hopefully show everyone the devastating impact asbestos can have on people’s lives.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at Albion Builders between 1948 and 1996 or details of their employers liability insurers between those dates should contact Charlotte Hobday at Irwin Mitchell on 0161 8382381 or email charlotte.hobday@irwinmitchell.com.

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.