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Devastated Widow Appeals To Former Birmingham Railway Museum Employees After Husband's Death

Expert Asbestos-Related Disease Lawyers Investigating Asbestos Exposure Decades Ago


The devastated widow of a former Birmingham Railway Museum employee who died from mesothelioma is appealing for witnesses to come forward with information about his previous employment on Action Mesothelioma Day.

The year’s event takes place on July 3 and sees victim support groups, legal experts, charities, researchers and clinicians come together to raise awareness of the terminal disease, which is caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres, often decades before symptoms appear.

Ralph Owen, from Halesowen, died at the age of 61 in March 2013, after a short battle with the disease and now his devastated widow, Susan, has instructed expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he was exposed to asbestos decades ago.

Before he sadly passed away, Ralph believed that he was exposed to the deadly dust and fibres while working at the Birmingham Railway Museum On Warwick Road, Tyseley, Birmingham.

Between September and October 1982 Ralph was employed as a member of the maintenance team in the museum’s workshop, where he was responsible for maintaining and refurbishing old railway carriages.

Ralph described working on an old carriage with a steel roof. The steel roof was secured by hundreds of steel studs and Ralph described how he would have to grind and drill the studs off which disturbed the asbestos insulation underneath and created a great amount of dust which covered his overalls and filled the workshop area.

Asbestos materials were heavily used in the manufacture of railway carriages in the past, for heat and noise insulation.

His widow Susan along with their legal team at Irwin Mitchell is appealing for Ralph’s former colleagues at the Birmingham Railway Museum to come forward with their accounts of exposure to asbestos dust and fibres in the workplace.  

Mark Lennon, an expert industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing Ralph’s family, said: 

Susan, 52 from Halesowen, who was married to Ralph for just one year before his death, said: “It was absolutely heartbreaking to have to see Ralph in so much pain in the final weeks of his life.

“I can’t help but feel that I was robbed of time with him due to the disease he developed as a result of exposure to asbestos.

“I know nothing will bring him back, but I hope his former colleagues from the museum will come forward.”

Anyone who worked alongside Ralph at the Birmingham Railway Museum or can speak to the museum’s working practices in the refurbishment of railway carriages should contact Mark Lennon at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 203 5365 or email Mark.Lennon@IrwinMitchell.com.

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