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Children Appeal To Mum’s Former Battery Factory Colleagues For Help Following Her Death From Asbestos-Related Cancer

Family Seeking Vital Answers Instructs Expert Industrial Disease Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The children of a former factory worker are appealing to their mum’s ex-workmates to help them establish how she contracted the asbestos-related cancer that killed her.
Florence Holland, who used to work at the former Pritchett and Gold battery factory in Dagenham, east London, died after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer which only develops decades after exposure to asbestos dust.

Following the 86-year-old’s death, Florence’s children, Matthew Holland and Samantha Holland, instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how their mum was exposed to the harmful material.

The pair’s legal team at Irwin Mitchell is now appealing for anyone who worked with Florence at Pritchard and Gold to come forward with information about working conditions at the plant.

Lacey St James, specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, representing the family, said: “Matthew and Samantha are struggling to come to terms with how just a few months after complaining of a cough their mum had died.

“We often see first-hand the consequences people being exposed to asbestos, often in the workplace decades previously, can have on families. We want to provide Matthew and Samantha with the answers as to why their mum contracted mesothelioma. 

“We are looking into the concerns raised by Matthew and Samantha and as part of our investigations we would appeal to former colleagues of Florence’s to come forward. We would particularly like to hear from anyone who has crucial information about possible asbestos at the factory, its layout and the roles that workers, including Florence carried out.”

Florence, left school in 1945 aged 15 and started working at Pritchard and Gold shortly afterwards.

It was whilst working as separator inspector at the factory between 1946 and 1951 that she met her husband Ron, who later became plant manager.

Ron and Florence lived in Dagenham, before moving to Harold Wood in 1953 and to Southend eight years later. Ron died in 2011.

Before her death, Florence, told her children that she remembered that on one specific occasion she was required to go to a workshop and assist with the work being carried out. She believed that she may have been exposed to asbestos during this period.

In November 2016 Florence started complaining of a cough and was becoming increasingly breathless. Following hospital tests she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2017. However, her condition deteriorated rapidly and she died on 24 April, 2017.

Matthew, 60, said: “Before the illness, my mother was in good health, was still able to drive and was very independent.  She was always out and about and was the chair of the Southend Arts Council.

“It was around a year ago that she started to develop shortness of breath and slowly became less active. I started notice that she would spend much more time at home watching TV.

“When mum was diagnosed with cancer we couldn’t believe it. We still had not fully come to terms with mum’s illness when her condition started to quickly deteriorate.

“It was awful to see my mother, who had been so active just a few months earlier, in so much pain at the end of her life.”

Samantha, 52, added:  “Matthew and I now just want to know how our mum came to be exposed to asbestos which took her life. We would appeal to anyone who worked at Pritchett and Gold during the time mum was there to help us find the answers to our questions.”

Anyone with information regarding the working conditions at Pritchett and Gold between 1946 and 1951 should contact Lacey St James on 0203 040 3445 or email lacey.stjames@irwinmitchell.com

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