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A retired electrician is appealing to his former workmates for help in his legal battle for justice after he was diagnosed with asbestosis, a chronic, incurable lung condition related to past asbestos exposure.
Alan Stevens aged 86, from Reading was given the devastating diagnosis in July 2015, leaving him, his wife Barbara and the rest of the family shoked and worried about what the future will hold.
Alan worked for the Southern Electricity Board in Reading from 1949 to 1957 where he was frequently exposed to deadly asbestos dust while installing storage heaters containing asbestos fire bricks. He also came into contact with asbestos lagging on boilers, pipework and in fuse boxes and regularly had to cut through asbestos insulation board in landing airing cupboards to gain access to roof spaces to install electricity into domestic properties.
From 1957 to 1960, Alan worked at the Royal Berkshire Hospital as a maintenance electrician. He often came into contact with asbestos dust while working in the boiler house and in the underground tunnels there. He also worked alongside other tradesmen who were using asbestos products.
During the early 1960s Alan worked for Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, near Didcot in Oxfordshire as a research technician, working in close proximity to other tradesmen laying new pipes which he believes were lagged with asbestos insulation.
Alan said: “I am still in shock about my diagnosis. Up until 18 months ago, I was fit and active and enjoying my retirement. I loved going for walks, gardening, doing DIY around the house and going shopping with my wife until I started getting shortness of breath and developed a permanent cough. After a number of investigations and tests I was given the horrible news that I had developed an incurable lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos particles.”
Alan and his family have now instructed specialist asbestos disease solicitors at Novum Law to help him investigate the conditions he endured working as an electrician over the years.
Andrew Walker, an expert asbestos disease solicitor at Novum Law, said: “Alan and his family are understandably very shocked and upset that he has developed an asbestos-related disease after such a long time following exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.
“They are pinning their hopes on former colleagues at Southern Electricity Board, the Royal Berkshire Hospital and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment coming forward with some information on the asbestos used at these places of work.
“Asbestosis is a horrible condition that occurs in people who have had prolonged or heavy exposure to asbestos dust. The disease progresses long after the exposure has stopped and causes breathlessness and wheezing, persistent coughing, severe fatigue and chest pain. Asbestosis sufferers are at higher risk of developing serious and potentially life-threatening conditions such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.”