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

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.

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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.

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