Widow seeks answers after asbestos-related death of ex-bingo hall manager husband

While it is well-known that those who worked in the construction sector many decades ago can be at risk of developing asbestos-related disease as a result of having come into contact with the lethal substance during their working lives, not all cases are this typical. This has been shown by one sad story recently published by the Newcastle-based Evening Chronicle newspaper.

Overseeing renovations may have exposed tragic husband to asbestos

Bob Elliot – originally from Kimblesworth in County Durham – was a senior manager for leading bingo hall operator Rank, which was responsible for hundreds of bingo halls across the country in the 1970s and ‘80s. Only after his death last year was it found that he had been suffering from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining that is strongly associated with asbestos exposure.

It is thought that he would have breathed in the potentially fatal substance while overseeing renovations of Rank premises around his native North East of England, but his family is now appealing for more information on exactly where this may have occurred.

While Bob spent time around the UK and the United States, he was also active in his home region for many years. He was based in Sunderland, but helped to oversee the transformation of old cinemas into bingo halls in such towns and cities as Gateshead and Leeds.

“We always said no, as that wasn’t his line of work”

Bob, a prostate cancer survivor, sadly died in March last year, aged 79. His wife Elizabeth, to whom he was married for 50 years, said the couple had no idea he could have been exposed to asbestos.

She commented: “When Bob had prostate cancer in 1999, he made such a great recovery, he had more energy than me. But then in late 2015, we could tell something wasn’t right – we worried that the prostate cancer had come back, but really we knew it was something different as the symptoms were different.

“The doctors kept asking about whether Bob could have come into contact with asbestos, but we always said no, as that wasn’t his line of work. Just before he died, one doctor said to us it could be mesothelioma, but as Bob didn’t work with asbestos, we just didn’t think it was possible. Only once the post-mortem confirmed it did we actually believe it, but of course it was a huge shock.”

She appealed for her husband’s ex-colleagues or anyone involved in the conversion of the bingo halls to provide information that “would help us go some way to finding out why we lost Bob in the manner we did.”

Trust us for asbestos surveys in Newcastle

Here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, we are highly active in the North East of England, with offices in Durham and Sunderland. It means that whether you require the highest standard of asbestos surveys in Newcastle, Teesside or elsewhere in the region, we can give you the utmost peace of mind.

Contact our team today for a competitive quotation, by calling 03333 441555.

Oxford library asbestos ‘could have caused professor’s death’

Among the many deaths from mesothelioma – the lethal cancer usually caused by the breathing in of asbestos fibres – to have been reported in the news recently is that of a former professor at Oxford University, who passed away earlier this year, aged 93.

Dennis Shaw was a distinguished figure in the recent history of the university, having once held the position of ‘Keeper of the Books’ at the Bodleian Library, where an inquest has heard he may have come into contact with the notorious now-outlawed substance.

Efforts underway to trace academic’s possible asbestos exposure

 As reported by the Oxford Mail, Dr Shaw wrote a personal statement to his family during his dying days, outlining his former workplaces where he could have encountered the asbestos fibres that led to the development of his cancer.


A coroner heard that he was working at the Bodleian Library during the 1970s as major refurbishment and underground construction work took place, and that this may have been the source of the asbestos exposure that ultimately caused his death.

Dr Shaw made specific reference in his personal statement to the library, where he was employed as Keeper of Scientific Books from 1976 to 1991. Prior to taking on the position, he had made regular use of the library as a physics and science academic at the university’s Keble College. He served the college for more than 30 years in all.

He said that nearly every day during work to extend the Bodleian Library in the early 1970s, he was present for an hour and a half to supervise construction. In early December 2016, he was diagnosed with the cancer of the lung lining known as mesothelioma, and was told it was caused by hazards in his workplace.

A much-missed father

 Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, assistant coroner for Oxford, commented: “Dr Shaw sadly died on July 20 this year of mesothelioma, which possibly had work-related causes. He died suddenly in the night.

“Mesothelioma is a disease that comes about due to someone’s exposure to asbestos. He was not aware of any exposure, but it is difficult to know when you’re clearing large amounts of dust during any building project.

“I would suggest the conclusion here is one of industrial disease.”

Dr Shaw’s 58-year-old daughter, Deborah, added after the inquest: “His family is very proud of him. We miss him very much. The last 18 months of his life were marred by such a horrible disease.”

A Bodleian Library spokesman declined to comment on the suggestion that asbestos fibres may have been present during the construction of the library extension, but described Dr Shaw as “a valued colleague and… a much-missed member of staff.”

Request asbestos awareness training from us

We can provide your business with a wealth of asbestos-related services here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, enabling you to better identify, manage and remove this potentially lethal and now banned construction material.

Draw upon our expertise in such areas as asbestos surveys, air monitoring and asbestos removal project management by calling us now, on 03333 441 555, for a competitive quotation.

A tragic “sixth victim” of the attack

Damages agreed over death of police officer due to Brighton bombing asbestos

Two police forces have reached a settlement to pay compensation to the family of an officer who died as a result of contact with asbestos in the aftermath of the IRA’s bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the 1984 Conservative Party conference.

The BBC said it had received confirmation from Sussex Police that it had settled a claim involving a former Met Police officer in February. The claim amount was split between the London and Sussex forces, with a police spokesman stating that the exact figure had not been disclosed.

A tragic “sixth victim” of the attack

Jonathan Woods worked as a forensic officer, and was one of the first on the scene of the attack. His death was reported in December 2015, and last year, Sussex Police warned emergency workers who were present at the site that they could have been exposed to lethal asbestos fibres.

Five people died and 34 were injured in the blast aimed at then-Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet in October 1984, when party members were staying at the hotel. Following the alert from Sussex Police, lawyers for Mr Woods said he had been sifting through dust and rubble by hand at the site for 14 days, searching for evidence.

They described him as the attack’s “sixth victim”, adding that 14 other Met officers and 15 Sussex officers accompanied him, and would have therefore also theoretically come into contact with the now-banned and potentially fatal material.

The lawyers added, in a statement issued in June last year: “Hopefully the ambulance service crews and fire services who attended above ground would not have been exposed to the same extent.”

Although Sussex Police has been in contact with and sent letters to 154 people, it has said it has received no further legal claims. There has been no comment on the settlement from Mr Woods’ family and his legal representatives.

Another sad reminder of the continuing danger of asbestos

Although this case may relate to much more unusual circumstances than have been seen in many other recent high-profile asbestos cases, it is nonetheless another reminder of the deaths and devastation that continue to occur to families as a result of exposure to the fibres often dating back many decades.

It should also alert organisations and individuals alike of the importance of doing everything possible to lessen any asbestos risk that could be posed to users of their buildings today. If you are one of them, don’t hesitate to contact the Trident Asbestos Solutions team now to learn more about our industry-leading asbestos air testing and related services.





The steady decline of a great historic pier

Fears that asbestos from Colwyn Bay pier could contaminate beach

Concerns have been voiced that the continued deterioration of the derelict Grade II-listed Colwyn Bay pier could lead to the beach becoming contaminated with asbestos, due to sheeting made from the lethal substance having been used in the construction of the main pavilion in the 1930s.

A report by Conwy County Borough Council said that the pier being hit by bad weather could cause the sheeting to break up, and that the structure should be dismantled as soon as possible. While the council owns the pier and approved plans to dismantle it in July, work cannot start until the go-ahead has also been given by the Welsh Government.

The steady decline of a great historic pier

The council is also unable to act on its plans until it has secured a marine licence from environmental body Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and fears that adverse weather may begin to hit the pier before this permission has been obtained.

The pier was first opened in 1900, but started to decline from the late 1980s and eventually closed in 2008. The structure began to collapse in February, with council engineers stating that the collapse of the sea end had weakened other sections. Parts of the pier have already been demolished as a safety measure.

Council warns of “rapidly deteriorating structure” 

According to an internal council report, released to BBC Wales as a result of a Freedom of Information request, “the strong impression remains of a rapidly deteriorating structure. The external walls of the pavilion were in a very poor condition when the deck was accessed some three to four years ago. It is surprising that they have not yet failed under wind load.

“If the walls fail, then a dominant opening would form, significantly increasing the wind pressure within the pavilion, leading to a high risk of the asbestos cement sheets being lost from the structure.”

With the asbestos sheeting having been known since its identification in a 2012 survey of the pier, the report added that the council had been considering how to clean the beach in the event of the pavilion’s collapse.

The Welsh Government said that it was assessing an application to dismantle the pier, while NRW confirmed it had received a marine licence application in relation to Colwyn Bay pier that was currently out to consultation. The body added that it “would consider any request to fast track a permit on a case by case basis.”

We are respected specialists in asbestos removal project management

Here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, we will certainly await with interest any further news on the fate of Colwyn Bay pier and what measures are taken to ensure the safe removal of any asbestos posing a danger to human health.

In the meantime, if your own organisation is in need of the services of acclaimed experts in the project management of asbestos removals, please contact the Trident Asbestos Solutions team on 03333 441 555 for a competitive quote.







Asbestos left “where children play”

ITV News investigation reveals scale of problem of illegally dumped asbestos

While there are no asbestos removal companies that will be shocked by talk of fly-tipping of the lethal substance becoming an ever-more pressing problem, it is nonetheless vital to increase public awareness of the issue.

That’s why it interested us to read a recent ITV News report indicating that illegally dumped asbestos remains as widespread and dangerous as ever.

Asbestos left “where children play”

ITV News’ Consumer Editor Chris Choi has claimed that there is evidence of asbestos continuing to be left in places where it could greatly imperil human health, including “in places where children play and the public walk.”

He continued: “We have established that it is being unlawfully disposed of in parks, on footpaths, churchyards and near schools. Often, it is being dumped on an industrial scale by criminal gangs. Other cases are small scale domestic rubbish, but whatever the source, there is a clear danger.”

The report added that in response to freedom of information requests by ITV News, it was revealed that there had already been 3,222 asbestos fly-tipping incidents in 2017 – an about 14% rise over the last three years.

Despite most councils claiming to target the removal of an asbestos-contaminated site within five days, and some councils achieving this, Choi said that the potentially fatal fibres were not removed for up to three months in some cases.

He added that the cost each year of dealing with illegally dumped asbestos had now surpassed the £1 million mark.

Samples show a wide range of dumped asbestos

As part of its investigations, ITV News asked an expert in toxic waste to analyse samples taken from an illegal mega-dump at Colnbrook near Heathrow.

He found that this one site alone was home to at least five different examples of asbestos, ranging from a corrugated roof sheet and an asbestos insulating board to an asbestos fireplace, an asbestos fire surround and an asbestos cement sheet.

The evidence seems compelling: there simply must be much more done to ensure swift and safe asbestos removal and in the process, better guard the health of those who may inadvertently come into contact with its extremely harmful fibres.

Calls for a “new streamlined system”

A Local Government Association spokesperson commented in response to ITV News’ findings: “Dumping a toxic substance is the height of selfishness and stupidity… We need a new streamlined system which helps councils – one that is nimble, flexible and effective. Not only does fly-tipping create an eyesore for residents, it is also a serious public health risk, especially with toxic waste.”

Meanwhile, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs commented:  “Fly-tipping is an unacceptable blight on our landscape, which is why we have cracked down on offenders by strengthening sentencing guidelines and giving councils the powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers.

“We have made it easier for vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping to be stopped, searched and seized and will continue to work with local partners to stop this inexcusable crime.”

Whatever your own views on how the ongoing threat of dumped asbestos on such sites continues to be handled, there can be little doubt that there is much more work to do. Don’t hesitate to contact Trident Asbestos Solutions today if you wish to take advantage of our in-depth expertise in safe, thorough and cost-effective asbestos removal at your own premises.





A promising project hampered by asbestos

Wolverhampton Civic Halls refurbishment hit as more asbestos is discovered

Asbestos is a lethal substance with the potential to cause lung cancer decades after the sufferer’s inhalation of the fibres. It therefore pays for businesses refurbishing vintage buildings to thoroughly examine them for any signs of asbestos, which has recently surfaced in Wolverhampton.

A promising project hampered by asbestos

The West Midlands city’s Civic Halls – consisting of the Civic Hall and the Wulfrun Hall – are currently undergoing a £14.4 million refurbishment initiated by the City of Wolverhampton Council. Top stars including Jimmy Carr and Russell Brand are already lined up for performances at the cultural hotspot.

However, the council has recently revealed that the refurbishment’s estimated completion date could be pushed beyond the previously cited October 2018. While this can be attributed partly to “additional works that need addressing”, the discovery of asbestos has also been cited as being to blame.

An inconvenient find ahead of a temporary reopening

Almost £500,000 was spent on removing asbestos from the Grade II-listed building before the refurbishment work commenced last year. Nonetheless, according to a spokesman for the council, “a further small amount of asbestos has also been discovered”.

He added: “Asbestos specialists have confirmed there is no risk, nor has there ever been a risk to public health, and action is being taken to treat the affected areas before the halls temporarily reopen.” Shows are currently booked for between 21st October this year and 2nd January 2018.

Acts that Wolverhampton locals can expect to see at the Civic Halls during that period include John Bishop, Greg Davies, The Charlatans and Marilyn Manson. Nonetheless, the refurbishment will see the total capacity grow to nearly 5,000, providing an ideal space for further big name performers.

We can help contractors to determine the presence of asbestos

The council has been wise to dispel any fears that this recently-found asbestos might have endangered public health – and also prepare to have the potentially toxic substance removed.

Here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, we can help to protect public health and ensure that asbestos removal contractors are undertaking their duties in accordance with current guidelines and to current standards. We can also assist contractors with our site audits for asbestos removal contractors. Get in touch with us today to learn more about the difference our highly qualified and experienced professionals can make to the safety of your premises, as well as to receive the most competitive quote.


“No impact on the new school”

Asbestos discovery at Scottish primary school won’t delay new term

Langlee Primary School in Galashiels, in the Borders region of Scotland, is set to commence its 2016/17 term this month in a new building, despite asbestos having been found in the institution’s old buildings, delaying their demolition.

Contractors responsible for levelling the old school are reported by local newspaper, the Southern Reporter, to have found more of the lethal substance than they had anticipated. However, Scottish Borders Council has said that pupils will still start their term in the new building on Wednesday 16th August, as originally planned.

This start date – also applicable to the other primary school in the region in Duns – is one day after the rest of the Borders, to give teachers time to prepare their new classrooms for the coming academic year.

“No impact on the new school”

While there were plans for the site of the former Langlee Primary School building to be landscaped before the new one was opened, this was already so tightly scheduled that pupils had been given an additional day off at the beginning of the summer holiday to allow for the completion of the work.

It means that with the news of the recent asbestos discovery, parents have voiced concerns as to whether the start date for the new term will be moved back.

Speculation that another week would be needed to ensure the safety of the site was dismissed by a spokesperson for the authority, who commented: “Some additional asbestos has been discovered in the former Langlee Primary School following intrusive works, which means the demolition of the old building will take slightly longer than originally scheduled.

“However, there will be no impact on the new school, with the deconstruction of the old school taking place in a safe and controlled manner and managed appropriately.”

We can undertake industry-leading asbestos air testing

Here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, schools are just some of the clients that we have previously served with our proven and highly regarded asbestos air testing service.

We have offices across the UK – including in Edinburgh, Sunderland, Durham, Leeds, Birmingham and London – so please contact our team today about to learn more about the complete expertise that we can provide in the testing for and removal of this highly dangerous substance.




‘Lives at risk’ due to asbestos at former Essex bingo hall

‘Lives at risk’ due to asbestos at former Essex bingo hall

A builder has warned that public health is being imperilled by the presence of discarded asbestos at a disused Basildon bingo hall, in another development that helps to draw attention to the continued pressing need for the highest standard of asbestos awareness training across the UK.

Local authority warned three times about fibres

35-year-old construction manager Dal Herbert said he spotted the lethal substance at the side of the one-time Gala Bingo building in High Road, Pitsea, while on his way to the shops. He said to Essex-based newspaper The Echo that it appeared developers had pulled down the building’s ceiling to attempt to prevent it from falling, unaware that dangerous asbestos was being exposed as a result.

Mr Herbert said that he had got in touch three times over a several-week period with Basildon Council, which, it has since emerged, had ordered that the suspended ceiling be removed.

He commented: “Someone had pulled down the ceiling of the building, obviously trying to make it safer, but not knowing asbestos was there.

“I alerted environmental health at Basildon Council three times, but I was told it wasn’t their problem as it’s a private property.”

He expressed particular concern for the health of users of a bus stop in front of the building, adding: “There’s hundreds of people using that bus stop and everyone is oblivious. It’s very dangerous.

“Asbestos causes lung cancer and the symptoms don’t show for 20 to 30 years. You breathe in the fibres and they hook into your lungs.”

“If nothing is done it’ll be like the Grenfell Tower fire”

Similar sentiments were voiced by Hiren Dave, the owner of Shiv Food and Wine on Pitsea Broadway, who said: “Dal has warned me about it. He told me to make sure I tell people – especially old people because they always use the bus stop.

“If nothing is done it’ll be like the Grenfell Tower fire and it’ll be too late to do anything.”

According to The Echo, a Basildon Council spokesman has since confirmed that the local authority’s building control team asked the owner of the building to remove a suspended ceiling on the grounds of it being “in a dangerous state”.

The spokesman added: “It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure the building is safe and any debris is disposed of responsibly.”

Such news of exposed asbestos fibres on a sensitive site like this – particularly so close to a frequently used bus stop – alarmed our team here at Trident Asbestos Solutions as much as it alarmed Mr Herbert and, we are sure, many of the users of our services.

Contact our team today for more information about the difference that our asbestos awareness training could make to your own team’s ability to identify and appropriately tackle asbestos on the sites for which it has responsibility.

Precaution taken, but asbestos “safe” and “undisturbed”

‘Structural issue’ at Bristol music venue prompts asbestos fears

A choir was forced to switch venue at late notice on a Saturday night after part of the main hall’s ceiling at Colston Hall in Bristol “fell off”, according to reports, amid fears about the dangers posed by possible asbestos in the building.

The Gurt Lush Choir was set to perform ‘Sex, Death and Poultry’ on 8th July, but had to move the event to Bristol University’s Wills Memorial Building after the unexpected incident.

An article in the Bristol Post said it understood that the affected section of the ceiling had collapsed on Friday night, rendering the space unusable. Choir member Nicola Harwin said there were fears that the crumbled section could contain asbestos.

Precaution taken, but asbestos “safe” and “undisturbed”

Ms Harwin, speaking on BBC Radio Bristol, commented: “As far as I can understand it a piece of ceiling has fallen off and there are concerns about whether there might be some asbestos or something.”

The Bristol music venue then issued a statement on Monday, clarifying: “The change of location was due to an unexpected minor structural issue in the main hall at Colston Hall.

“Over the weekend a small fracture in the ceiling of the main hall was identified and as we are aware of safe, undisturbed asbestos in the old part of the building we took the precaution to close the Hall for the evening as the safety of our visitors and performers is paramount.”

The venue added that it expected the issue to be resolved early in the week with no effect on any future shows.

Our asbestos removal contractors can put your mind at rest

If you have responsibility for similar premises to Colston Hall and wish to take advantage of asbestos management services that you can trust, we would be delighted to hear from you here at Trident Asbestos Solutions.

While the incident at Colston Hall appears to have passed without harm, it is crucial to be vigilant about the potential presence or risk of asbestos and how to appropriately manage it in your own building.

Contact Trident Asbestos Solutions’ renowned asbestos consultants today, and we can take swift and professional action at your own property to help to give you the utmost peace of mind.





Mesothelioma is notorious for developing late


Even four decades after asbestos exposure, the risk of mesothelioma continues to go up

Anyone with any experience in the discovery and removal of asbestos will be aware of the lethal cancer of the lung lining, mesothelioma, which is strongly associated with exposure to the now-banned fibres and is almost always fatal. Nor are people in the UK ceasing to die from the disease, long after the era when asbestos was widely used, as shown by Health and Safety Executive statistics from 2014 showing 2,515 deaths.

Now, a new study has been published in the journal Lung Cancer that shows even those who have not come into contact with asbestos for 40 years are still seeing their risk for the condition rise. Such individuals are almost three times more likely to develop the disease than those for whom exposure occurred just five years ago. Their risk is also higher than their counterparts exposed to the substance 30 years ago.

Mesothelioma is notorious for developing late

It is no secret that mesothelioma tends to have a long latency period, which means that those who come into contact with asbestos may not show their first symptoms of the disease for many decades afterwards. This may help to explain why there has been little sign of asbestos-induced diseases decreasing in prevalence in most European countries, despite the European Union (EU) having banned all types of asbestos.

Researchers at the Poland-based Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine set out to analyse the relationship between when workers were last exposed to asbestos and their subsequent risk of developing mesothelioma, in a population of participants who had been exposed to the substance at some point in time.

They found that workers exposed 40 years ago were 2.68 times more likely to develop mesothelioma than those who had encountered asbestos 35 years later. Of the different types of asbestos, crocidolite – often known as blue asbestos – was associated with a significantly higher mesothelioma risk.

The chances of developing the disease were also greater for those who had been exposed to asbestos for a longer time period, with those who had been in contact with it for four decades being 2.79 times more likely to develop the condition than those exposed to it for only one year. This was the case even when adjustments were made for such factors as birth year, gender, the amount of exposure and the time that had passed since they were last exposed.

We can oversee the professional removal of asbestos

The Trident Asbestos Solutions team takes the risks associated with asbestos exposure extremely seriously. This is why we are so committed to providing individuals and organisations across the UK with the most reliable and comprehensive services geared towards the rapid discovery and complete management of removal of asbestos from their premises.

Why not contact our team today for a competitive quote to assist you with your asbestos requirements, so that you can benefit from our UK-wide, nationally renowned service?


Download Our Free Asbestos Guide Client Login
Trident Surveying is a member of the NECC Trident Surveying are ConstructionLine Pre-Qualified Trident Surveyors are CHAS Accredited Trident Surveyors are CSCS Card Holders Trident Surveyors are RSPH qualified
Trident Surveying Ltd, Unit 5, North Hylton House, North Hylton Road, Sunderland. SR5 3AD
Copyright Trident Surveying Ltd 2013
Company Registered No: 05985210 (England). VAT Registration No: GB 898 3377 54