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Sheffield Teaching Assistant Appeals To Former Colleagues After Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Expert Asbestos-Related Disease Lawyers Investigating Exposure


A retired teaching assistant is appealing to her former colleagues for help after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, caused by exposure to the substance decades ago.

Susan Law, 64, from Hillsborough, Sheffield, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2015 after suffering with shortness of breath.

She has now instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office to investigate how and where she came into contact with asbestos and if more could have been done to prevent her exposure to the material that caused her to develop the disease.

Susan believes she may have been exposed to harmful asbestos dust and fibres while working as a teaching assistant at Marlcliffe Primary School, in Hillsborough, which was operated by Sheffield City Council.

She was a volunteer at the school for a number of years before taking a permanent position in 1992. Susan worked there until 2011 and was often required to place children’s work on the display boards in the classrooms and corridors.

Asbestos was regularly used in the construction of school buildings and a Freedom of Information request has confirmed the presence of the material in a number of areas in the school.

Now Susan and her husband, Denis, along with their legal team at Irwin Mitchell, are appealing for Susan’s former colleagues to come forward with any information they may have on the presence of asbestos at the school and what measures, if any, were implemented to protect staff and pupils from exposure to the potentially deadly substance.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has regularly called for improvements to the way asbestos is monitored, managed and removed from schools premises.

Martyn Hayward, an expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Susan, said: 

Expert Opinion
“Concerns regarding the presence of asbestos in schools are not going away and we have yet to see a clear plan of action formed on tackling the issue.

“We have repeatedly demanded a full risk register is introduced to document the presence of asbestos in public buildings including schools, with it being maintained through a programme of regular inspections. This way, the most harmful asbestos can be safely removed before it causes problems for people using those buildings. It takes decades before symptoms develop, so a proactive programme of removal is the best course of action.

“Asbestos exposure is so often linked to industrial environments, but we are seeing more and more cases where people, like Susan, have been exposed in schools. We hope that her former colleagues from Marlcliffe School will come forward to help with our investigation into her exposure.”
Martyn Hayward, Solicitor


Susan, a mother-of-three, said: “As a family we have been left absolutely devastated by my diagnosis. It was even more of a shock to find out that my disease was caused by exposure to asbestos, which may have occurred at Marcliffe School, where I worked for almost 20 years.

“I hope that my former colleagues will come forward with information, no matter how small, on the presence of asbestos.”

Anyone with information on the safety measures taken to prevent asbestos exposure at Marcliffe School should contact Martyn Hayward on 0114 274 4615 or email Martyn.Hayward@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.

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