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Family Of Power Station Worker Appeal For Information To Help Lawyers Investigate

Dad-Of-Two Died From Industrial Illness Just One Month After Diagnosis


By Dave Grimshaw

The heartbroken family of a man who died from an incurable industrial illness are appealing for his ex colleagues to provide information about the working conditions he endured, to help specialist lawyers investigate whether more could potentially have been done by his employers to protect him.

Thomas Sinclair (known as Tommy), who was originally from Edinburgh but had lived in Selby for more than 60 years, died on 9 November 2011 after battling mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos exposure.

Before his death, the 82-year-old told his family he believed he came into contact with asbestos while working for engineering and construction company Hick Hargreaves & Co Ltd between 1965 and 1972. Tommy’s job for the firm included the construction of Eggborough, and Drax power stations in Yorkshire and Long Gannett in Scotland.

The dad-of-two’s family have now instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to continue his battle for justice and to find out if more could potentially have been done by his employers to protect him.

Tommy recalled coming into contact with asbestos while maintaining and repairing the asbestos lagged pipe work throughout the power stations.

In 1972, Tommy also began working as a fitter’s mate for the former CEGB, which is now part of Npower. He worked at power stations throughout the region, including those in Kirkstall, Keadby, Skelton Grange, Ferrybridge and Eggborough.

Tommy recalled being exposed to asbestos while working at the various power stations where the plant’s extensive pipe work was lagged with the deadly dust.

Ian Bailey, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office is representing Tommy’s daughter and son-in-law, Yvonne and David Wright.

Ian said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress for victims like Tommy who worked in industries where asbestos was regularly used. Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure, despite knowing how dangerous it is.

“We hope that Tommy’s former co-workers will come forward to help answer the many questions his family has about his exposure 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 dust.”

Tommy, who had been married to his wife Jean for 63 years and retired in 1992, first started to show the debilitating symptoms of mesothelioma following a fall in October 2011.

Doctors at York District Hospital discovered fluid in his left lung and he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Sadly, his condition was too advanced to treat and he died at home on 9 November 2011 surrounded by his family.

His son-in-law David, who married Tommy’s daughter Yvonne, said: “I’d known Tommy for 40 years and he was always such a hard worker and proud of his career. He often talked about his time working at power stations across Yorkshire and Scotland and said asbestos was used all the time to lag pipe work and turbines.

“We really hope his ex work colleagues will now help the team at Irwin Mitchell investigate the conditions he worked in, so we can finally honour his memory and get the answers we deserve about his condition.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at Hick Hargreaves & Co Ltd and CEGB should contact Ian Bailey or Nicola Handley at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0113 220 6233 or email Nicola.handley@irwinmitchell.com

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Asbestos claims.