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Retired Cornish bricklayer appeals to former colleagues after asbestos disease diagnosis
A former bricklayer who worked for local firms W Trathen and E Thomas & Co Ltd in Cornwall is appealing to his former colleagues for help after a devastating asbestos-related disease diagnosis.
Leslie Kevern, a father of five daughters and a grandfather of 11 grandchildren from Redruth, is suffering from lung cancer which is attributable to his exposure to deadly asbestos fibres during his time working in the building trade.
He received his diagnosis in October 2016 following a period of ill health and breathlessness. After undergoing a number of investigations, including scans and biopsies, he was given the devastating diagnosis.
Leslie was employed as an apprentice with W Trathen in 1955 and 1956. He then transferred his apprenticeship to E Thomas & Co Ltd. who he remained working for until 1961. During his time at E Thomas & Co Ltd. his colleagues gave him the nickname of ‘Curly’ as he had very curly hair.
While working for E Thomas & Co Ltd., Leslie remembers several contracts that were undertaken. These included working on the interiors of the buildings at RNAS Culdrose, working on Council properties in the local area, schools and also the AA offices in Truro.
E Thomas & Co Ltd. was a large and well-known business within the local area at the time. In 1965, the company was purchased by Mowlems and later in 1996, by Carillion. However, Leslie is urgently trying to locate former colleagues from the years 1956-1961 who are able to give any information about the working practices at the time and more importantly, if they can confirm the company’s insurance position.
Leslie said: “The whole family are shocked at my diagnosis. I have had a very active working life and very much enjoy being outdoors; however due to my illness I am no longer able to spend any time gardening.
“During my time with W Trathen and E Thomas & Co Ltd., I remember working with plaster and asbestos boards and also working around others using asbestos products. It was an extremely dusty environment to work in.”
Leslie is appealing to former colleagues for their help to investigate how he was exposed to deadly asbestos dust and has instructed Andrew Walker, a specialist asbestos disease solicitor from Novum Law to help him and his family with their search for justice.
Andrew Walker said: “Leslie and his family are, understandably, very shocked and upset at Leslie’s diagnosis and the fact that it is asbestos-related.
“Asbestos-related lung cancer is a dreadful illness which causes significant suffering for its victims and their families. Sadly, thousands of people die each year as a result of just going about their everyday lives, working to make a living and being exposed to asbestos, through no fault of their own.
“We are appealing to anyone who worked at W Trathen in 1955 to 1956 or W Thomas & Co Ltd. between 1956 and 1961 that can provide information about the presence of asbestos or information about the companies’ insurance.