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Family’s Appeal For Justice After Hertfordshire Dad Died Of Asbestos-Related Cancer Eight Days After Diagnosis

Widow Reveals Heart-Break At Not Getting To Properly Say Goodbye To Husband Of 60 Years

05.04.2019

Andrew Hewitt, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

A family is campaigning for justice in memory of a former manager in the manufacturing industry who died eight days after he was diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer.

John Ransome had been admitted to hospital after collapsing at home in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, with breathing difficulties.

Following tests the father-of-two was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of terminal cancer linked to exposure to hazardous asbestos often decades earlier.
 
John died aged 81 in May, 2018.

Following his death John’s family including wife Valerie, 79, and daughters, Yvonne Short, 60, and Tracey Rohse, 55, instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he was exposed to the material.

John previously worked at Stator Electrical Ltd in the early 1960’s and believed he was exposed here. While he worked there he knew this company as Cook’s, in reference to the owner’s name at the time.

The family’s legal team at Irwin Mitchell is now appealing for former workmates of John’s at Stator Electrical in Enfield to come forward with information about working conditions at the site.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling asbestos-related disease cases

Lacey St James, specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing John’s family, said: “This is yet another incredibly tragic case which highlights the devastating impact that asbestos exposure can have, with John developing the illness many years after his contact with the material is thought to have occurred.

“His family remain devastated by their loss but are keen to gain answers regarding just how he came to be exposed to asbestos. With this in mind, we would be grateful to anyone who can provide information regarding these employers and the working conditions John would have faced.

“Any detail, no matter how small, could ultimately prove vital to our efforts to secure justice for his family.”

John left school aged 15 in 1952. He joined the RAF where he helped to build radio communication stations.

He met Valerie in April 1957 and the couple married seven months later.

John joined Stator Electrical in 1960, starting as a technical hand installing refrigeration control units at various large commercial cold store depots. He was promoted to foreman where he was in charge of technical hands and arranging work contracts.

John and Valerie lived in Cecil Road, Waltham Cross, up until 1962 when they moved to Cheshunt.

John left Stator Electrical in 1963.

John told his family that as part of his work with Stator Electrical he would often have to crawl through lofts and ceiling voids where there was pipes insulated by asbestos as well as insulation containing the material.
Around Christmas 2017 he started to suffer with a bad cold. He was prescribed antibiotics by his GP for a chest infection; however, an X-ray on 31 January, 2018, showed he had a collapsed lung which was re-inflated.

His lung collapsed again and John was sent to Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire for treatment and tests. While awaiting the results he was admitted to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital in April 2018 after collapsing at home.  He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on 27 April and died on 5 May, 2018. 

Valerie said: “I have been left devastated by John’s death. He was the most wonderful, loyal and caring husband and dad who was everything to me. I still cannot believe he has gone.

“What makes it harder to come to terms with is how quickly he died. We had only just started to come to terms with his diagnosis when he died. The doctors wanted John to get better from his chest infection before staring cancer treatment. One day they did not seemed too concerned and the next day he was dead.

“I’m devastated by the fact that we never got to say goodbye properly.”

Yvonne added:  “Dad was fit and healthy for his age. He kept active and would walk into town to buy a paper and go shopping and he would go out to meet friends.

“I was chatting with dad the day before he died. He was talking fine and did not appear in any pain. The next thing we received a phone call the following morning saying he had died in the night.

“While nothing can make up for dad’s death we just want to find out if more could have been done to prevent his exposure to asbestos.  We would be extremely grateful to anyone who can help us with this.

“Any information could be vital in getting answers regarding the illness which took his life.”

Anyone with information about working conditions at Stator Electrical should contact James Aiken at Irwin Mitchell on 0117 926 1528 or email james.aiken@irwinmitchell.com