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Lawyers Seeking Information From Former Workmates Following Leeds Man's Asbestos Cancer Death

Campaign Launched To Help Provide Funding Boost For St Gemma’s Hospice


Emma Bolton, Press Officer | +44 (0)114 294 7843

Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are appealing for information from the former workmates of a Leeds man who died from an asbestos-related cancer.

Janis Balodis, who moved to Leeds from his native Latvia in 1947, died in St Gemma’s Hospice in August last year at the age of 90. He had been diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lungs most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos decades prior to diagnosis.

As Janis - who was better known as John - had no family left in the UK, asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office are keen to trace anyone who may recall working with him when he was employed with West Yorkshire Foundry in Hunslet or Hailwood & Ackroyd Ltd near Morley.

The legal experts are sharing John’s story in a bid to determine where he was exposed to asbestos. They hope to secure a financial settlement to help towards covering the costs incurred by St Gemma’s Hospice during John’s time there.

They are keen to speak with any of John’s former workmates that may have information on the working conditions experienced while employed by either of these companies, to help find out what led to John’s diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Expert Opinion
“In my line of work I see many lives affected by mesothelioma, and while John is sadly no longer with us, I am determined to honour his memory by securing answers as to what caused his illness – sadly something John was unable to in his lifetime.

John’s last days were spent at St Gemmas Hospice in Leeds and being able to recover some of their costs would be a great way of saying thank you to them on behalf of John for the care and support they provided to him during a terribly difficult time.”
Oliver Collett, Senior Associate Solicitor

John, of Moortown in Leeds, first worked for West Yorkshire Foundry, which was based in Hunslet, for around a year between 1953 and 1954.  He returned to West Yorkshire Foundry in the late 1950s and worked in the die cast department making aluminium castings, which involved spraying an asbestos substance all over the inside of the die moulds. 

He told Irwin Mitchell that the asbestos came in the form of a powder which he would mix with water in a container. This would create a large amount of dust and fibres in the air which then settled on John’s workplace surfaces, his hands and clothing, and even in his mouth which he would then have to spit out. He noted that he was provided with gloves, but was never given any breathing protection.

After he left West Yorkshire Foundry for a second time, John went on to work for Hailwood & Ackroyd Limited at the Beacon Works in Morley between 1965 and 1966.  He was employed in the aluminium foundry department, doing the same work as he had done at West Yorkshire Foundry, and he said that his exposure to asbestos dust was the same with no extraction systems or ventilation in that area.

If anyone has any information, please contact Oliver on 0113 3946784 or e-mail Oliver.Collett@Irwinmitchell.com.

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