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Woman Appeals To Late Husband’s Former Colleagues For Help After Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Expert Lawyers Investigating Asbestos Exposure Through Work Clothes


A woman diagnosed with mesothelioma, a terminal cancer caused by inhaling asbestos dust, which may have occurred through her late husband’s work, is appealing to his former colleagues to assist with an investigation into the working conditions he was exposed to.


Barbara Hernon, 75, from Henbury, Bristol was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July 2015 after suffering with shortness of breath and chest pains.


She has now instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and why she was exposed to the deadly dust. Barbara believes she may have come into contact with the substance through her husband’s overalls.


Her late husband, Matthew Hernon, who was known to his family and friends as Matt, passed away in April 2002. He spent a number of years working as a carpenter in the Penge, Bromley and Beckenham areas of London.


He spent time working for Tenon Contracts (in 1965/66), Darlington Insulation Company Limited (in 1967/68) and Clark & Fenn Limited from 1967 until 1969, before moving on to work as a labourer for British Rail, from 1976 until 1986.


Barbara explained to her legal team at Irwin Mitchell that she regularly handled, shook out and washed Matt’s work clothes which were often covered in asbestos causing the asbestos dust to be released into the atmosphere.


Virginia Chalmers, a Partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Barbara, said:


Expert Opinion
“This is a tragic case in which a woman has been diagnosed with mesothelioma simply by being exposed to asbestos dust as she washed her husband’s overalls in the 1960s to 1980s.

“Barbara was just trying to care for her family but she now faces a difficult future as her mesothelioma progresses and causes her health to deteriorate.

“Employers were aware of the dangers of asbestos during the period that Barbara was exposed to asbestos but sadly too many companies did not do enough to protect their workers or their families from the dangers.

“Mesothelioma is a terrible disease and unfortunately there is no cure. It takes decades after exposure to the harmful dust and fibres before symptoms develop, so those who fall victim to asbestos-related diseases can often not recall the exact circumstances surrounding their exposure.

“We are determined to get the answers Barbara needs about her exposure to asbestos and we are calling on Matt’s former colleagues, as well as his brothers, Eddie and Willie Hernon, to come forward with any information they may have that can help Barbara.”
Virginia Chalmers, Partner


Barbara, a grandmother-of-five, said: “Before my diagnosis I was always a fit and healthy person so to be told I had mesothelioma, a terminal cancer, was absolutely devastating. I’m really worried about what the future holds for me as my health deteriorates.


“I’m also concerned that my mesothelioma will prevent me from spending time with my family and watching my grandchildren growing up.


“I am now undergoing chemotherapy to treat the cancer, but the process has left me relying on my daughter for emotional support and help with a number of everyday tasks.


“Hopefully, Matt’s brothers and those who worked with him will now come forward and help provide details about the kind of work Matt did and how he came into contact with the asbestos that he brought home on his work clothes for me to wash.”


Anyone who can recall working with Matt Hernon at Tenon Contracts, Darlington Insulation Company Limited, Clark & Fenn Limited and British Rail should contact Virginia Chalmers at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email Virginia.Chalmers@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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