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Over 35 years after the closure of Swindon’s Great Western Railway repair shops, local families are still suffering from the town’s devastating asbestos legacy. Specialist asbestos disease firm Novum Law is supporting a bereaved family that has lost not one but two loved ones to the so-called ‘Swindon disease.’
Alan Neale and his brother Raymond Neale from Swindon worked at the Great Western Railways repair shop during the 1950s. Alan was employed as a railway carriage painter in ‘24 Shop’, and Raymond worked as a French polisher in ‘B Shop.’
The brothers were exposed to asbestos during their working days as the railway carriages were lined with asbestos, and the carriages’ roofs were skimmed with an asbestos coating.
Tragically, Raymond died aged 76 of mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by inhaling asbestos dust and fibres, in 2008. And this year, in January 2021, Alan (age 87), a much-loved father of two, grandfather of two and great grandfather of one, sadly died of asbestosis, an incurable, chronic lung condition that causes shortness of breath, coughing and chest pains.
Alan Jolliffe, a specialist asbestos lawyer from Novum Law which has offices at Drakes Meadow, near Greenbridge Retail Park in Swindon, supports Alan Neale’s close family. They hope to get justice for him and secure the compensation they are entitled to following his premature death from the devastating asbestos-related disease this year. Alan Jolliffe said:
“This is a particularly unfortunate case. To have one family member die from asbestos exposure is bad enough but for two brothers to be struck down by fatal diseases caused by contact with asbestos as they go about their daily work on Swindon’s railway is a horrendous position for any family to be in.”
Alan Neale’s wife, Pamela, asked Novum Law for help following her husband’s death. Her nephew, Danny Neale, who is Raymond’s son and now lives in in Northamptonshire but continues to have strong connections with Swindon and is a lifelong Swindon Town Football supporter, said:
“Before they died, my dad and uncle Alan would talk about how the railway carriages were covered in a layer of thick asbestos dust. They described how, during breaks from work, they and their workmates would roll the asbestos into balls and play football or cricket with them, depending on the season. They had no idea that decades later, their exposure to the white substance that blew around the railway works ‘like snow’ would eventually lead to their deaths.
“Me and my family want to raise awareness about the link between working on the railways and asbestos disease. Many people don’t realise that you can get diagnosed with asbestos disease many years after being first exposed – in my Uncle Alan’s case, it was over 60 years before he became seriously unwell.
“The other important thing to mention is that both brothers only worked in the repair shops for just a few years, so you don’t need to be exposed all your working life to be affected by asbestos disease.”
Alan Jolliffe added:
“The use of asbestos in the railway industry was widespread between the 1950s and 1980s, and sadly for Swindon, the devastating impact is still being felt and will continue to do so for many years to come.
“The risk of asbestos disease is not just limited to the railway repair shops. Any number of trades associated with the railway industry will be affected – from welders, carpenters, laggers, boilermakers, engineers, and painters, to name a few.
“These are decent, hardworking people who were exposed to a deadly substance just by going about their daily lives, without being given the proper protection or safety advice they needed.
“We can help them seek justice by supporting them to make a potential claim for the compensation they deserve.”
Novum Law has a team of specialist asbestos lawyers who can help people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and pleural disease. Our lawyers can also help family members who have lost loved ones due to asbestos exposure. Call Novum Law on 0800 884 0777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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