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Former Labourer Calls On Old Workmates For Help Following Asbestos-Related Disease Diagnosis

Newcastle Man Joins With Lawyers To Launch Appeal For Information


James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

A former labourer from Newcastle who can barely walk due to the asbestos-related illness he was diagnosed with last year has teamed up with lawyers to launch an appeal for his old workmates to come forward and help him gain justice regarding the condition.

James Calvert, 83, first developed breathing problems during a holiday in Turkey in June 2016 and after seeking medical advice on his return to the UK he was referred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary. After a range of tests, it was finally concluded in September that he had developed asbestosis.

Following the news, James instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to launch an investigation into how his illness developed and to help him to secure vital funds to support his ongoing treatment and support needs.

As part of their work, the legal experts are now appealing for anyone who was employed alongside James during his 18-month stint as a labourer for the Chemical & Insulating Co at the firm’s Scotswood Road site in Newcastle between 1971 and 1973 to come forward and provide more information on the presence of asbestos at the site.

Emma Tordoff, the specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office who is representing James, said: 

Expert Opinion
“Our client’s story is yet another which highlights the devastating impact that exposure to asbestos can have, with him developing a serious illness many decades after contact is thought to have taken place.

“Following our investigations, we are keen to gather more details regarding the conditions and work undertaken by Chemical & Insulating Co at its Scotswood Road site and we would be hugely grateful to anyone who may be able to help us with this.

“Such information could prove key as we look to secure James the answers and justice he deserves regarding his condition.”
Emma Bell, Solicitor

Looking back on his time employed by Chemical & Insulating Co, James recalled how it produced asbestos insulation for laggers to use in the local shipyards.

He remembered: “While being labourer meant that I would undertake a range of tasks, my main work involved standing underneath hoppers – which were like funnels – and catching asbestos powder insulation in bags.

“Dust would fill the air during the work and it often meant that I would get a mouthful of it as I was never provided with any specialist equipment or protection. I just tended to get on with the work. I simply had no idea at the time of the implications of what I was doing.”

James’ asbestosis has had a huge impact on his life in a number of ways and he particularly struggled while attending his son’s wedding in May 2017.

He said: “I could barely walk on the day due to breathlessness and I even needed people to help me cross roads, it was awful. It has now got to the point where I cannot leave the house, I can’t drive, I have had to give up my allotment and I am losing lots of weight.

“The illness has also had an impact on my wife Sandra, as she too struggles to go out as I need so much support around the house. I am completely devastated by what has happened and just feel I deserve answers as to whether this was caused by my work. Any help would be hugely appreciated.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sonia Akram at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office on 0191 279 0095 or email sonia.akram@irwinmitchell.com.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in asbestos-related disease cases.