Family of former Chesterfield fitter’s mate appeal for help following asbestos cancer death

The family of a former fitter’s mate from Chesterfield are appealing for help following his death from asbestos-related cancer.

By Julia Rodgerson
Friday, 29th April 2022, 4:05 pm

Brian Wood died aged 81.

It was only after a post mortem examination that it was confirmed he had mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lining of the lungs most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.

Following Brian’s death, his daughter Lynne Searson, aged 56 and son Kevin Wood, aged 58, instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their late dad’s illness and whether it could have been linked to his work history.

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Brian Wood

They are now seeking information from anyone who may have worked alongside Brian at Wagon Repairs Limited (known locally as Chatsworth Wagon Works) and also at The British Thomson Houston Company Limited.

Angela Davies, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mesothelioma is a terrible disease and Brian’s loved ones remain devastated by his death, particularly Lynne and Kevin who are understandably still struggling to come to terms with losing their dad in the way they did and only finding out about his diagnosis following his death.

“They also have a number of questions about how he could have been exposed to asbestos which led to him developing mesothelioma, the effects of which don’t usually come to light until several decades after initial contact has taken place.

“We’re now investigating whether Brian’s exposure could have occurred during his work. We would therefore be grateful if anyone who worked alongside Brian could provide us with information on the working conditions he faced. Any detail, no matter how small, could be vital.”

Brian worked at Wagon Repairs Limited (known locally as Chatsworth Wagon Works) and also at The British Thomson Houston Company Limited.

Brian worked for Wagon Repairs Limited at their site in Old Whittington from 1952/3 to 1972.

Rail coaches were repaired there. His work with The British Thomson Houston Company Limited began in 1974.

He started as a general labourer and progressed on to general maintenance as a fitter’s mate. This role involved general maintenance in the fitting shop and looking after the machines, including the conveyor belts. He stayed there until the factory closed in 2003.

Brian began to feel unwell around February 2020. He was losing weight and started to experience confusion and memory loss.

Brian also developed a rattle on his lung, and in March 2020 he was admitted to hospital where he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was discharged home where his condition deteriorated, and he died on June 29 that year.

Lynne said: “It’s coming up to two years since we lost dad and it’s still so painful at times to accept he’s not here anymore. He was such a loving, gentle dad and enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his family.”

Anyone with information about Wagon Repairs Limited and/or The British Thomson Houston Company Limited conditions can contact Angela Davies at Irwin Mitchell by e-mail at [email protected] or calling 0114 274 4538.

This week marked Workers’ Memorial Day – to remember those who have died as a result of their employment, and campaigns to improve health and safety standards in the workplace and increase protection for employees.