Search for answers over worker’s asbestos death

Roger Headley, who died aged 65 of asbestos-related cancer.
Roger Headley, who died aged 65 of asbestos-related cancer.
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RELATIVES of a former Sheffield steelworker who died from asbestos-related cancer are trying to trace colleagues who might be able to shed light on how he was exposed to the deadly substance.

Roger Headley worked for 40 years as a driller on crankshafts at the Tinsley site of Ambrose Shardlow, later known as GKN Shardlow and now Bifrangi UK Ltd.

Roger, a father of four and grandfather of five, was diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma in July 2010 and died just five months later, aged 65, on Boxing Day.

His widow Jackie Headley, 67, of Beaver Hill Road, Woodhouse, is appealing for anyone who worked with Roger to get in touch if they know how he was exposed to asbestos.

Mrs Headley said: “He suffered a great deal due to his illness before he eventually passed away.

“His breathing deteriorated and he became less active and mobile. It was heartbreaking to watch him suffer.

“Nothing can bring him back to us but we want to get to the bottom of where he was exposed to asbestos.”

Roger’s daughter Joanne, 34, said: “My dad was a true Sheffielder – a real working man. He got up at 5am every day, made his packed lunch and went to work.

“He never complained in all those years. He just got on with it, working to put food on the table for his family.”

Roger, who grew up on Skye Edge and moved to Woodhouse after marrying Jackie, was diagnosed with mesothelioma a year after retiring.

He underwent chemotherapy at Weston Park Hospital but, on December 22, 2010, doctors said they could do nothing more for him.

Joanne said: “We brought him home and we had Christmas dinner – all 17 of us. Then he passed away the next day.”

Paul Chilton, general manager at Bifrangi, said: “We are terribly sad to hear of Mr Headley’s demise.

“We have an asbestos-clear certificate and as far as I know we have not had any reports of asbestos-related disease.”

Keith Hague, of Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said: “Because it can take up to 30 or 40 years to develop, it can sometimes be difficult to assess where somebody was exposed to asbestos.

“We want to talk to Roger’s former colleagues to find out more about the working conditions.”

n Call Mr Hague on 08701 500100.