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Widow Of Former Painter And Decorator Appeals For Help After His Lung Cancer Death

Asbestos-Related Disease Lawyers Investigating Exposure To Asbestos At Cumbrian Shipyard


The devastated widow of a former painter and decorator who spent 20 years working at a Cumbrian shipyard on board ships and submarines is appealing to her late husband’s colleagues after he died from lung cancer linked to his exposure to asbestos.


Kay Eccles, from Broughton-in-Furness, instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her husband’s exposure to asbestos at Vickers Armstrong Shipbuilders Ltd in Barrow-in-Furness.


Sam Eccles died at the age of 85 in February 2016 after a year-long battle with lung cancer. An inquest at Barrow Town Hall on 14 September ruled Sam died of an industrial disease.


His widow is now appealing to the former employees of Vickers Armstrong to come forward with information they may have about his exposure to asbestos, the safety measures, if any, put in place by the firm and the warnings provided to staff about the health risks associated with asbestos.


Kay told her legal team at Irwin Mitchell that Sam’s role as a painter at the shipyard required him to spend long periods of time on-board the vessels.


Sam often worked alongside other tradesmen, such as joiners and laggers, and told Kay that the working environment was often very dusty.


Asbestos was commonly used to insulate pipework on-board the vessels Sam worked on and this would often be repaired at the same time as he carried out his work. Laggers would regularly mix and spray asbestos onto the pipework, releasing dust and fibres into the atmosphere.


Roger Maddocks, a Partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing Kay, said:


Expert Opinion
“We know from experience that asbestos was commonly used on-board ships in the period Sam worked at Vickers Armstrong and that tradesmen often worked in the area where asbestos was being used to insulate pipework.

“Sadly, many employers failed to take the necessary precautions to protect workers from the health risks posed by asbestos, particularly when inhaled. We are now appealing to Sam’s former colleagues for information on the presence of asbestos in the working environment and the steps taken to prevent staff inhaling the deadly substance.

“Kay and her children have understandably been left with a lot of unanswered questions following Sam’s death and the impact asbestos exposure had on his health decades down the line. We are now investigating his exposure so we can provide them with the answers they need.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner


Before his lung cancer diagnosis, Sam enjoyed spending time outdoors and was a keen fisherman and gardener.


Kay said: “Sam was always a fit and active man and was in great health until early 2015 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The diagnosis took us all by surprise and it was extremely hard for us to see his health deteriorate as he battled against the disease.


“We want to know why more wasn’t done to protect him from the risks asbestos posed to his health by Vickers Armstrong and hope that taking legal action will help us secure justice in Sam’s name.”


Anyone with information on the working conditions at the Vickers Armstrong shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness should contact Michael McGowan on 0191 434 7704 or email Michael.McGowan@IrwinMitchell.com.

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