Family launches investigation into dad's asbestos-related death

The family of a former electrician and engineer worker - who died of an asbestos-related cancer - are appealing for his former colleagues to come forward and provide any information which will support their search for answers regarding his death.

Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 9:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 9:06 am

Norman Rhodes, from Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, died 87, in 2015, but Irwin Mitchell solicitors have stated it was not until after his death that his family discovered he had been suffering with mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos exposure decades ago.

In the time before his death Norman suffered from regular chest infections, chest pains and also difficulty breathing.

The father-of-two worked at a range of companies in the Chesterfield area.

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Between 1943 and 1953 he worked for Markham & Co as an apprentice maintenance electrician before moving to the Royal Hospital Chesterfield where he worked until 1975.

At the hospital, he worked as a maintenance electrician, frequently working on boilers, heating systems and x-ray machines.

From 1975, Norman worked for a large fuel company as a boiler engineer, followed by employment at Kennings Fuel as an oil fired heating engineer. He retired in the 1990s.

His widow Norma and children, Andrew and Christine, have now instructed specialist asbestos related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help them gain answers about how Norman was exposed to the deadly dust and are appealing to his former colleagues to come forward and help.

Helen England, a specialist asbestos related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing the family, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer and has devastating consequences for sufferers and their loved ones.

“Sadly, despite employers knowing how dangerous it is, many in the past did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure to protect their employees.

“Because the illness is linked to exposure to asbestos decades ago it can sometimes be difficult to find information on the working conditions the victims have endured.

“In Norman’s case, he worked across numerous different employers across the Chesterfield region and we would urge anyone who worked with him to get in touch.

“They might be able to provide vital information that may help with our investigations.”

Daughter Christine said: “Nearly eight months on, the whole family are still in complete shock and to know he died from an asbestos-related illness is heart-breaking. It was horrible to see him suffer in such a way. We now need to know how this happened and whether anything could have been done to put a stop to his death.

“Dad was a keen gardener and he used to grow chrysanthemums to show. He regularly took part in the Tupton and Clay Cross shows where he was quite successful.

“We’re unable to provide Irwin Mitchell with a lot of information regarding Dad’s working conditions but hopefully those who he worked with might be able to help to give us more information so that we can determine what caused his terrible illness.”

Anyone with any information about the working conditions at Norman’s former employers should contact Helen England at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 3856 or email [email protected]