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Widow Continues With Late Husband’s Claim After Losing Him To Asbestos Cancer

Former Colleagues Asked To Contact Asbestos Lawyers With Information


The wife of a Shoreham dad-of-two who died of an asbestos-related cancer is appealing to his former construction colleagues for help as they may hold vital evidence that will help in the battle for justice.

Former carpenter Rickman Saunders known as Rex, from Swiss Gardens, died in February 2009 aged 84 of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to deadly asbestos dust.

His wife of 18 years Pamela Saunders and one of his granddaughters, Michele Silsby, instructed expert asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell and are now appealing for Rickman’s former colleagues to get in touch with information to assist.

Irwin Mitchell would like to hear from any of Rex’s former colleagues at Beves & Sons timber importers, which was based in Shoreham, about the presence of asbestos and working conditions at the firm.

He worked there from 1957 to 1960 and was involved in a project putting up roofing and constructing a timber hangar at Gatwick. Before his death, he told lawyers at Irwin Mitchell that he worked alongside contractors putting asbestos sheets on the roof and cutting corners off them to fit them together.

He remembered it was very dusty when they were cutting, drilling and fitting the asbestos but he was never warned of the associated risks of exposure or given any protective clothing or masks to wear.

Joanne Jefferies, an asbestos specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, representing the family, said: “Rickman’s family have been left devastated by his death and desperately want answers so they can begin to come to terms with their loss.

We need Rickman’s former colleagues to get in touch to help with information about conditions when he worked for Beves & Sons from 1957 to 1960.

“Employers have known the dangers of asbestos since the 1950s and 1960s and there is no excuse for employees not being protected or warned of the risks. It can take several decades for mesothelioma to develop and it can be very aggressive, which was unfortunately the case with Rex.”

The grandfather was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2008 after suffering chest pains and becoming short of breath and he died just three months later leaving his family struggling to come to terms with their loss.

His wife of 18-years, Pamela, said: “Rex and I met in later life after we were both married previously. We were very happy together and loved to go dancing and walking. I had hoped we had many more happy years together but that was not to be.

“When we were told his diagnosis we just couldn’t believe it. It seemed so unfair that he was given a death sentence through something he was exposed to through no fault of his own over 50 years ago.

“By the end he could barely walk to the local shop, never mind go dancing. It was very hard to see him suffer.

“I just hope his former colleagues get in touch. Any information, no matter how small, could give us the answers and justice we need to be able to come to terms with what’s happened.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact Joanne Jefferies at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 3936 or email joanne.jeffries@irwinmitchell.com