Family of Derbyshire gran and former Coalite worker appeals for help after death from exposure to deadly asbestos

The family of a Derbyshire grandmother who died from a rare form of cancer is appealing for help from her former work colleagues.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 11:06 am
Irene, second from left, with her family in the 1960s.

Irene White passed away at the age of 68 from a lung cancer called peritoneal mesothelioma – which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Her family believe Irene was exposed to the dangerous mineral when she worked at the huge former Coalite site near Bolsover in the 1960s.

Irene’s son Stephen, who lives in Suffolk, said: “In February she went to the doctors as she was having some pains, loss of appetite and hot sweats at night.

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"After numerous tests we were given the news that she had cancer.

"At first the cancer appeared as ovarian cancer but was eventually confirmed, in early May, as peritoneal mesothelioma.

"This is a very rare cancer that is caused from exposure to asbestos by ingestion and forms on the abdomen lining. It can take decades before the symptoms appear.

"The more common mesothelioma is on the lungs and from inhalation.”

Irene was born Irene Yates in 1952 and grew up in Shuttlewood Road, Bolsover.

Stephen said: “She went to work at Coalite and was there between 1968-70. She worked around the site delivering sacks of post between all the buildings on the site.”

Irene and her husband Keith later moved to Sleaford in Lincolnshire.

“The tragic realisation is how the NHS is not equal between regions,” Stephen said.

"Her local hospital trust had no oncologist that specialised in peritoneal mesothelioma.”

After the discovery Irene’s cancer had spread further onto her lungs in June, she was admitted to hospital and then the St Barnabas Hospice in Grantham.

Irene passed away on July 13 with Keith by her side.

Stephen says she had hardy seen her three grandchildren because of the pandemic and her illness.

A spokesperson for Royds with King solicitors said: “We are investigating how she may have come into contact with asbestos and are interested in speaking with anyone who worked for Coalite, particularly during the period between 1968 and 1970.

“Our client is therefore appealing to anyone who worked for Coalite during this time to come forward to tell us what they remember about the work they did.”

Contact Sarah Wolf on 0207 842 1474 or email her at [email protected]

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