Former Sunderland seamstress’s widower seeks information over her asbestos-related death

The devastated husband of a retired seamstress from Sunderland whose death was attributed to asbestos-related disease has appealed to her old colleagues to provide insight into how she could have come into contact with the lethal fibres.

Jean Davis died at the age of 81 at Sunderland Royal Infirmary in February, about 11 months after her diagnosis with mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lung lining suffered by many of those to have inhaled asbestos.

Senior coroner for Sunderland, Derek Winter, recorded at an inquest a week after her death that she passed away due to industrial disease.

A search for answers for Jean’s loved ones

 Gordon Davis, who was married to Jean for nearly 60 years, instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at the Newcastle office of Irwin Mitchell to look into her illness and determine whether she could have been prevented from coming into contact with the deadly substance.

It is as part of these investigations that the legal firm is asking any former workmate of Jean during the period between 1972 and 1989 when she worked as a seamstress at the site of County Luxdon Laundry Ltd on Wycliffe Road, Sunderland to get in touch.

Mr Davis’s legal representative, Emma Tordoff, said: “Just a couple of months on from her death, Jean’s family remain understandably devastated by their loss, and are desperate to understand how she came to develop mesothelioma.

“We are determined to ensure that Jean’s loved ones gain justice regarding her death. We would be hugely grateful to anyone who may be able to shed further light on the presence of asbestos at this site and the working conditions that Jean would have generally faced.”

What is already known about Jean’s workplace?

 County Luxdon Laundry was later known as De Mille Cleaners. Jean worked within the company’s pressing area, which some witnesses have already told Irwin Mitchell was very hot due to the presence of irons and presses.

Furthermore, it has been suggested that asbestos lagging was present on pipework near where Jean worked.

Mr Davis, 83, commented: “Losing Jean has been incredibly difficult for me and the entire family. She was a very proud and secretive woman, so many of the family only ultimately learned of her illness around Christmas time, when her condition had deteriorated.

“While nothing will ever change what has happened, we all just want to know whether her illness could have been prevented and whether more should have been done to protect her. If anyone could help, it would be hugely appreciated.”

Those with potentially helpful information are urged to contact Irwin Mitchell’s Emma Tordoff by emailing emma.tordoff@irwinmitchell.com or calling (0191) 2790095.

Through the vast range of asbestos-related services that we provide here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, including asbestos management surveys, demolition surveys, asbestos testing and the removal of asbestos, we can help to maximise your peace of mind with regard to the safety of your premises. Phone us now, on 03333 441555, for your competitive quotation.

 

North East England records particularly high rate of asbestos-related deaths

As reported by the ChronicleLive website, figures have now been released detailing the number of deaths from asbestos-related disease across the UK over the last few decades, making for particularly grim reading for the North East of England.

North Tyneside and South Tyneside ranked third and fourth respectively on the death register, a sad reflection of the formerly thriving shipyard and building industry in this part of the country.

Thousands in the region recorded to have died due to asbestos

 The high occurrence of asbestos-related deaths in the North East is a subject that is especially close to our hearts here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, given the two offices that we maintain in the region, in Sunderland and Durham.

Nonetheless, given the history of the area, it sadly does not shock us that almost 6,300 deaths were recorded across the region from 1981 to 2015 due to exposure to the deadly fibres.

When the death numbers are compared to how many would normally be expected to die in the area – the standard mortality ratio – North Tyneside is placed third in the UK for the highest rate of male mesothelioma deaths, with 491. This compares to the 364 recorded for fourth-ranked South Tyneside, with only Barrow-in-Furness and West Dunbartonshire placing higher across the entire country.

As for female mesothelioma deaths, Sunderland came in second with 144, only beaten by Barking and Dagenham.

A truly bleak set of figures for the area

 The numbers from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that between 1981 and 2015, 2,319 people – 1,969 male and 350 female – died of mesothelioma in the Tyne and Wear area alone. The rest of the North East saw 3,979 mesothelioma deaths – 3,415 male and 564 female – in the same timeframe.

It is all a very depressing reminder of the continued paramount importance of the work of asbestos removal contractors in ridding sites across the region and beyond of this potentially extremely dangerous material.

We can help to protect against the perils of asbestos

 Please contact the Trident Asbestos Solutions team today, on 03333 441555 or by completing and submitting our straightforward quote request form, to find out more about the work that our own professionals can do to make your premises safer.

We have offices in Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham and London as well as the North East of England, which enables us to provide a genuinely nationwide service.

Public ‘not at risk’ from asbestos after Glasgow nightclub fire

One of the sternest recent tests for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service occurred on the morning of Thursday 22nd March, when a fire took hold in the roof of a building on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street that it was initially feared could spread to nearby structures such as the historic Pavilion Theatre.

Thankfully, that dreaded scenario did not come to pass, although the decision was made by Glasgow City Council not to allow staff access to the theatre for about two months amid concerns about smoke damage and damage caused to some of the venue’s doors by fire-fighters.

Nonetheless, one positive development is the fire service’s statement that there is “no risk” to the public of being exposed to asbestos as a result of the sad blaze.

Vital atmospheric testing undertaken

 According to a fire service spokesperson on 23rd March, atmospheric testing had been carried out and “concluded that there is no risk to the public from asbestos.”

However, the council deemed buildings at 92-96 and 98-106 – the latter including Victoria’s nightclub – to be unsafe, adding that they would have to be demolished.

The fire broke out at about 8:20am on the Thursday, and at its height, more than 120 fire-fighters and 20 fire engines were mobilised to the city centre.

What dangers can asbestos pose in fires like this?

 While worries about the asbestos risk from this particular high-profile fire have thankfully been quelled, that does not mean your own buildings could not pose such a danger in the event of a devastating conflagration like this.

The use of asbestos in buildings in the UK was completely banned before the end of the 20th century, but the harmful material may still be present in properties built or revamped before then.

Asbestos was once widely used in such areas of buildings as under the floorboards, boilers, pipework, insulation, calorifiers and heat exchangers. If a person inhales asbestos fibres, some may become trapped in the organs and cause deadly diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis or malignant mesothelioma. Thousands of deaths each year are linked to asbestos-related diseases.

Don’t leave asbestos removals to chance

 If you are unsure whether the users or occupants of your buildings or members of the public could be exposed to asbestos on your premises, it’s essential to avoid any unnecessary risks.

Instead, get on the phone to our experts in asbestos removals here at Trident Asbestos Solutions today, calling 03333 441555 for your competitive quotation.  

Cancer researcher diagnosed with mesothelioma, aged just 48

In a sad reminder that the lethal cancer of the lung lining known as mesothelioma can affect even the relatively young despite not typically showing symptoms for decades after initial exposure, a Blackburn-raised cancer researcher has been diagnosed with the disease at just 48 years old.

Doctor given just five years to live

 As reported by the Lancashire Telegraph, father-of-two Dr John Timms was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July, and is unlikely to survive for more than five years. In the meantime, he is set to experience ever-greater disability, including such symptoms as breathlessness, pain, fever, fatigue and coughing up blood from the virulent and incurable condition.

Mesothelioma is usually caused by contact with asbestos. Only 35% of sufferers live for more than a year, and 9% longer than five years.

Dr Timms grew up in the Wensley Fold area of Blackburn and attended St Silas Church of England School in the mid-1970s, followed by Billinge High School. He has spent much of his subsequent career as a cancer researcher, but believes that his illness stems from his childhood in Blackburn in the 1970s and ‘80s.

He commented: “My family and I have been left totally devastated by my diagnosis and the illness has already had a huge impact on my life.

“I have always had a very active lifestyle and enjoyed cycling and running, but the symptoms of the mesothelioma mean it is incredibly difficult to do that now.”

Call for information about potential asbestos contact

 Dr Timms and his lawyers have launched an appeal for information regarding how his illness may have developed. Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are keen to hear from anyone who may be able to provide insight into the potential presence of asbestos at the two schools he attended, as well as the nearby Crosshill Special School, which is now the site of Wensley Fold Primary.

The schools were then under the operation of Lancashire County Council, and Dr Timms and his legal team believe it is here where he could have encountered asbestos. They are also investigating the possibility that Dr Timms could have been exposed to discarded broken asbestos in garage plots around the Manor Road area, which he recalls from childhood.

Dr Timms, now a resident of Hitchin in Hertfordshire, said: “I cannot recall any potential exposure to asbestos during my career so can only think it potentially happened earlier than that.

“If anyone can help me gain answers regarding these schools I attended, or was around, it would be hugely appreciated.”

Anyone who is able to provide information is urged to contact Irwin Mitchell’s Rosemary Giles by calling 0370 1500 300 or emailing rosemary.giles@irwinmitchell.com.

Meanwhile, individuals and organisations with questions on asbestos removal can get advice here at Trident Asbestos Solutions can call 03333 441555 for a competitive quote.

Three tonnes of asbestos found dumped by side of Brentwood road

The removal of asbestos is unfortunately frequently required in a wide range of settings beyond the obvious environments in which the lethal substance is usually found.

This is illustrated by one recent story reported by the EssexLive website, concerning three tonnes of asbestos found dumped by the side of a road in Brentwood.

Concerned local blasts council for inaction 

 

The fly-tipping of the potentially immensely harmful material angered Jeff Forkes, who alerted both Essex County Council and Brentwood Borough Council on Thursday 15th February to the presence of the asbestos dumped along Murthering Lane, Navestock.

Even after the weekend, however, the swiftly disintegrating asbestos could still be seen on the roadside. The area is a notorious fly-tipping spot that Mr Forkes said was being turned into the “pits of Essex” due to offenders repeatedly returning without impunity.

Jeff, a 20-year resident of Murthering Lane, said that while there had been numerous incidents nearby, the most recent episode could pose a health hazard for years to come.

He commented: “Fly-tipping inert material is one thing but tonnes of asbestos in the road is another. It is toxic waste. Someone is going to die because of this.”

Worries about the possible inhalation of asbestos dust

 Mr Forkes said that despite the relevant authorities having been told of the problem, vehicles were regularly driving over the bags of roofing asbestos, crushing the material into dust.

He continued: “I’ve told them that instead of having to clear up sheets, you are going to have millions of particles and as soon as it dries out, it is going to go to dust and we’ll all be breathing it in.

“It’ll be impossible to clear up – it will lay in the verges and on road surfaces and then it’ll puff up in a cloud of dust when someone is driving with the window down. Common sense would be to clear it up now.”

Local authority pledges “safe removal”

 A Brentwood Borough Council spokeswoman said the authority was “fully aware of the asbestos roofing which has been illegally dumped in Murthering Lane” and had “taken steps to ensure its safe removal.”

She added: “As part of this action, officers will be investigating for any information that may help identify the perpetrators with a view to taking legal action against them.”

According to the EssexLive report, it was thought that the removal of asbestos from the site would take place as soon as the necessary contractor paperwork was arranged, expected to be by the end of the week.

Make us your preferred specialists when it comes to advice on safe asbestos removal

Is your organisation concerned about the potential presence of asbestos on a site for which you are responsible? If so, you can place your faith in our consultants here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, by calling 03333 441555 or completing and submitting our online form to request a competitive quote.

Three tonnes of asbestos found dumped by side of Brentwood road

The removal of asbestos is unfortunately frequently required in a wide range of settings beyond the obvious environments in which the lethal substance is usually found.

This is illustrated by one recent story reported by the EssexLive website, concerning three tonnes of asbestos found dumped by the side of a road in Brentwood.

Concerned local blasts council for inaction 

 The fly-tipping of the potentially immensely harmful material angered Jeff Forkes, who alerted both Essex County Council and Brentwood Borough Council on Thursday 15th February to the presence of the asbestos dumped along Murthering Lane, Navestock.

Even after the weekend, however, the swiftly disintegrating asbestos could still be seen on the roadside. The area is a notorious fly-tipping spot that Mr Forkes said was being turned into the “pits of Essex” due to offenders repeatedly returning without impunity.

Jeff, a 20-year resident of Murthering Lane, said that while there had been numerous incidents nearby, the most recent episode could pose a health hazard for years to come.

He commented: “Fly-tipping inert material is one thing but tonnes of asbestos in the road is another. It is toxic waste. Someone is going to die because of this.”

Worries about the possible inhalation of asbestos dust

 Mr Forkes said that despite the relevant authorities having been told of the problem, vehicles were regularly driving over the bags of roofing asbestos, crushing the material into dust.

He continued: “I’ve told them that instead of having to clear up sheets, you are going to have millions of particles and as soon as it dries out, it is going to go to dust and we’ll all be breathing it in.

“It’ll be impossible to clear up – it will lay in the verges and on road surfaces and then it’ll puff up in a cloud of dust when someone is driving with the window down. Common sense would be to clear it up now.”

Local authority pledges “safe removal”

 A Brentwood Borough Council spokeswoman said the authority was “fully aware of the asbestos roofing which has been illegally dumped in Murthering Lane” and had “taken steps to ensure its safe removal.”

She added: “As part of this action, officers will be investigating for any information that may help identify the perpetrators with a view to taking legal action against them.”

According to the EssexLive report, it was thought that the removal of asbestos from the site would take place as soon as the necessary contractor paperwork was arranged, expected to be by the end of the week.

Make us your preferred specialists when it comes to advice on safe asbestos removal

Is your organisation concerned about the potential presence of asbestos on a site for which you are responsible? If so, you can place your faith in our consultants here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, by calling 03333 441555 or completing and submitting our online form to request a competitive quote.

Former Darlington College lecturer blames asbestos exposure for cancer diagnosis

A 73-year-old ex-lecturer at Darlington College has said that she believes her incurable lung disease can be traced to her time working at the County Durham institution in the late 1970s.

In what appears to be another sad reminder of the importance of asbestos air testing if asbestos may have been disturbed, and other services related to the management of the lethal substance, Margaret Curry’s legal team has indicated that she is likely to have encountered the deadly dust and fibres between 1975 and 1980.

It was during this time that Mrs Curry – maiden name Callan – was working at the old Cleveland Avenue site of what was then known as Darlington College of Technology, as a food science teacher.

Another saddening and devastating diagnosis

Mrs Curry was told that she was suffering from the fatal lung condition mesothelioma in November. The cancer of the lung lining develops due to the inhalation of asbestos fibres and dust, but does not show its symptoms until decades after the initial exposure.

Fears have arisen as a result of Mrs Curry’s diagnosis that thousands of staff and students could have come into contact with the harmful substance while building work was taking place at the site, from which the college moved over a decade ago to its current new-build site just off Haughton Road.

“Overalls… contaminated with asbestos dust”

Mrs Curry commented: “When the work was carried out at the college in Darlington, the workmen wore overalls which I believe were contaminated with asbestos dust.

“They passed through common areas in their overalls. The common areas near the rooms they were working in were noticeably dustier than usual.”

Meanwhile, the college’s Universities and College Union representative Dennis McCabe said: “I am shocked that a former member of staff has been taken ill.

“There were potentially thousands of students there at the time, and members of staff, and it’s concerning to think how many people could have been exposed and wouldn’t know about it until decades later.”

Call for Margaret’s former colleagues to come forward

Meanwhile, Roger Maddocks, who is representing Mrs Curry as a specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, stated: “Those who worked alongside Margaret may have important information on the presence of asbestos at Darlington College as well as details of safety measures, if any, taken to protect staff from exposure to it.

“We hope former colleagues, students and others familiar with Darlington College will come forward with this crucial information so we can get justice for Margaret. We would also like to hear from any of the workmen involved in removing the asbestos from the ceilings at the college.”

Are you concerned about the potential presence of asbestos at your own organisation’s premises? If so, contact the Trident Asbestos Solutions team today about the asbestos air testing and related services that could be instrumental in safely detecting and managing such dangerous fibres.

Swindon toilet block regeneration put at risk by ‘asbestos’ find

Plans to refurbish toilets hit by drugs could be imperilled by the apparent discovery of asbestos in the building by staff of Swindon Borough Council.

It may mean the Mechanics Institution Trust loses a £12,000 grant that it secured from the Groundwork charity to overhaul the historic Swindon park’s toilets where 200 discarded needles were discovered in a single day last summer.

The group had proposed to transform the red brick building in Faringdon Road Park into a base for its volunteer gardeners, who work on the railway village park.

As things stand, however, the trust will lose the grant at the end of January.

Frustration over “lack of communication and progress”

Despite officers from Swindon Borough Council – which owns the toilet block – having seemingly found asbestos in the building, the Swindon Advertiser reported suggestions from “sources close to the discussions” who believed this could be an “excuse” that “many people don’t believe”.

Chris Watts, chairman of South Swindon Parish Council, warned that the development could end plans to refurbish the building.

He said to a meeting of the parish’s leisure and amenities committee this month: “The latest we have back from the council is that the building has excessive asbestos in it. This is not something we can verify. Their suggestion is that the costs of actually resolving the asbestos problem in the building would be far greater than the actual amount of money they have.”

The parish hopes to be put in charge of the park in the future.

Daniel Rose, director of the Mechanics Institution Trust, commented: “We continue to be very frustrated by the lack of communication and progress on this issue with the council. We want to see that building regenerated.”

He added that despite the trust having been given “extension after extension” to its Groundwork grant, it was presently set to lose that funding by the end of the month.

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “We are liaising with the parish council over the future of the toilet block in order to reach a resolution that suits all parties.”

A reminder of the importance of asbestos removal contractors

The cache of 200 drug needles was discovered around the building last July by shopkeeper Paul White, who told the newspaper that he had seen someone injecting themselves in the stomach “out in the open”, as well as “groups of people going into the toilets and doing who knows what, it beggars belief.”

The borough council responded by confirming its officers had begun daily inspections of the park.

The news of the fresh troubles for the toilet block’s proposed refurbishment is another reminder of the crucial role that asbestos removal contractors play in providing vital peace of mind to organisations and protecting public health.

When you require the services of a trustworthy and leading national asbestos consultancy, call Trident Asbestos Solutions on 03333 441555 to request your competitive quotation.

Christmas decorations at school ‘could have heightened asbestos risk’

As leading nationwide specialists in asbestos consultancy, here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, we know full well how crucial it is to educate as many people as possible on the risks that asbestos can pose, particularly when one comes into direct contact with it.

It therefore doesn’t surprise us that the organisation in the UK representing education worker unions warned its members that they could be putting themselves and children in danger if they put up Christmas decorations in the classroom, given how asbestos can be disturbed as a result.

Almost 90% of British schools still contain asbestos

 In issuing its directive through the Department for Education, the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) warned school staff across the country that nearly nine in 10 schools still harboured some of the toxic material.

JUAC said that when staples and pins are put into walls and ceilings as part of the process of decorating classrooms for the festive season, microscopic asbestos fibres can be released. This, in turn, may have serious health implications for those nearby.

The Department for Education stated: “This activity should not be taking place in schools where asbestos is known to be present.”

JUAC urged school staff to determine whether asbestos was present in their building, as well as exactly where it was located. It added that those working in schools who suspected that asbestos was, indeed present should also avoid piercing the walls and ceilings of classrooms, corridors or halls with staples or pins to hang Christmas decorations.

School employees were therefore told to seek out alternative methods for the display of holiday decorations and other artwork.

The JUAC directive continued: “Any school built before 2000 is likely to contain asbestos. Nearly 90% of schools still contain asbestos and children are known to be most vulnerable because of the long latency of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.”

Ask Trident if you are not sure how to deal with asbestos on your premises.

 With Regulation 10 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (2012) making clear that every employer must ensure the provision of sufficient information, instruction and training to employees and contractors who are liable to come into contact with this notorious substance as part of their normal work, now may be the time to get in touch with our experts.

We can give your team the benefit of asbestos awareness  that will help to ensure the continued safety of everyone in your employ, so that future tragic illnesses can be avoided. Simply call us now, on 03333 441555, to find out more.

Asbestos exposed at disused BHS building in Hull

The building formerly housing one of Hull’s most instantly recognisable department stores – a branch of the now-defunct BHS – has had a hoarding placed around it due to the exposure of asbestos inside, according to the city council.

A statement by the local authority confirmed that “some of the cladding has started to come away and asbestos is being exposed”, adding that the hoarding was erected for “public safety” reasons.

One of the city’s highest-profile sites

The shop building is one of the most prominent structures in Hull city centre, and is known for its large Three Ships mosaic by artist Alan Boyson. The work was commissioned in 1963 by the building’s then-owner, The Co-op, and it is planned to be retained as part of a redevelopment of the site.

The canopy outside the building has recently served as a shelter for some of the city’s homeless population. However, white boards have now been put in place to fence it off, while the council is working with Emmaus, a charity for the homeless, to provide the rough sleepers with support and accommodation.

A report issued by the council only last month revealed the discovery of suspected raw asbestos fibres in the BHS building and the former Co-op store, both on Jameson Street.

Major redevelopment plans

A Hull City Council spokesperson stated: “In agreement with the owners of the BHS building, the council has placed hoarding around the site to ensure public safety.

“The council is currently in the process of purchasing this site, which will be the next key redevelopment area of the city and will be part of the new Albion Square.

“The development envisaged will enhance both the leisure and high quality retail offer in the new city centre, as well as providing more city centre residential property, contributing to the vitality of the centre and enhancing the demand necessary to boost and sustain the city centre evening economy.”

Albion Square is the name of the proposed mixed retail, leisure and housing development that the council intends to develop on the site around the Three Ships mural, with demolition of the rest of the former BHS building set to take place in June.

Request asbestos removal from trusted experts

Whether you or your organisation requires the most professional, safe and efficient advice on asbestos removal, compliance checking or air testing, we are always available here at Trident Asbestos Solutions to provide such vital services.

Call us today for your competitive quotation, on 03333 441555.

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