An 81-year-old man from Huddersfield has told of his shock at discovering he is suffering from a deadly asbestos-related disease – mesothelioma.
Roger Claton is now appealing to his former workmates for any information that may help determine how he fell ill.
He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March around three months after he began to display symptoms connected to the disease.
But his problems date back to Christmas when he began to feel unwell with a cough and shortness of breath.
He said: “I was absolutely devastated to find I was suffering from mesothelioma. I had been feeling unwell for a while but never imagined it would turn out to be something so horrible.
“To have the support and care of my family is the most important thing, but to learn that my work could have been to blame for this disease is deeply upsetting.
“While nothing will change what I am going through, I need to know how I came into contact with asbestos. I would be grateful if any of my former workmates would be able to offer any information.”
A cancer of the lining of the lungs, mesothelioma is most commonly associated with asbestos exposure, often decades previously.
Following his diagnosis, Roger instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and discover whether his employment could have led to his contact with the hazardous substance.
He is now appealing to his former colleagues for information on the environments he faced while working for Sellers Engineering and Beauford Engineering.
Nicola Handley,who is representing Roger, said: “Roger’s case is yet another that highlights the impact that asbestos can have on the lives of those exposed to it many years later.
“Through our work, we sadly come across many families that have been devastated by the effects of mesothelioma, which is a particularly unpleasant illness to live with.
“Roger wants to know what led to him developing this disease, and as such we are calling on anyone that may have worked with him with either of these companies to come forward with any information that may establish the conditions he worked in and help with our investigation. Any detail could prove vital, no matter how small.”
Roger left school at the age of 15 in 1954 and began work as an apprentice for Sellers Engineering at Chapel Hill in Huddersfield. The company produced machinery for the textile and carpet industry.
During his time there he thinks he came into contact with asbestos.
One of the machines produced by the company was a drying chamber for a carpet manufacturing process, which was fitted out with insulation boards made from the substance. He completed his apprenticeship in 1960.
From 1969 to 1994, he worked as a fitter and inspector for Beauford Engineering.
He sometimes helped to install heavy machinery in factories such as steel plants including Skinninggrove in North Yorkshire and Stanton and Staveley near Chesterfield.
The machinery was usually used to assist in the transport of goods such as roller bays.
Roger recalls very dusty and dirty conditions, and it is believed that factories of this sort would have had asbestos lagging on pipes and in other locations.
He has been married to wife Barbara, 81, for 56 years. The couple have one son and two grandchildren.
Anyone with information that may assist with this case is asked to contact Nicola on 0113 220 6233 or by e-mail at Nicola.Handley@IrwinMitchell.com.