Appeal for help for Grandfather who died after asbestos exposure at Newcastle shipyard
The widow and family of Leslie George from Okehampton, Devon, who died from a devastating asbestos-related disease, aged 88 years, are appealing for help from his former colleagues at a Newcastle shipyard.
The devoted family man died from mesothelioma, an aggressive, incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs, caused by exposure to deadly asbestos dust particles.
Leslie was employed as a joiner at Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardsons at Neptune Yard in Newcastle Upon Tyne. He began his career there as an apprentice in 1943 making furniture, doors and panelling for ships. He would then fit out the cabins on board the ships.
Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardsons was responsible for some of the greatest ships of the early 20th century – most famously RMS Mauretania which held the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic and RMS Carpathia which rescued survivors from RMS Titanic.
Leslie left the company in 1948 to do his National Service. Following his time in the forces, he moved to Middlesex and qualified as an aircraft engineer before retiring to Devon.
Leslie first became ill when he began suffering from a cough which deteriorated over time. Initially, it was thought he had a chest infection but following an x-ray and further investigations at hospital, it was confirmed that he was suffering from the asbestos-related mesothelioma.
Elizabeth George, Leslie’s widow, is looking into his past work at Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardsons. With help from specialist asbestos disease solicitors, Novum Law, she is appealing for help from anyone who worked at the company in the 1940s to come forward with any information they have about Leslie’s working conditions and how he was exposed to asbestos.
Andrew Walker, a specialist asbestos disease solicitor from Novum Law who is assisting Elizabeth and her family with their search for justice, said: “Leslie’s family are understandably very shocked and upset that they have lost him to an asbestos-related disease.
“Mesothelioma is a dreadful illness which causes significant suffering for its victims and their families. Thousands of people die each year as a result of just going about their everyday lives and working to make a living.
“We are appealing to anyone who worked at Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardsons in Newcastle in the 1940s who can provide any details about the presence of asbestos there and any exposure that Leslie may have had there.