Widow’s ‘coke oven’ law fight

Terry & Marie with their Daughter
Terry & Marie with their Daughter
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A widow whose husband worked as an industrial plant worker for more than 12 years is taking legal action after an inquest found her husband died of industrial disease.

Terry Jones, aged 54, from Killamarsh, died of lung cancer in October 2013 after working for 12 years operating coke ovens, first at Brookhouse and then Orgreave coking plant.

An inquest into his death found he had died of lung cancer.

More than 100 workers in South Yorkshire are also taking legal action against British Coal and British Steel, according to law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is leading the group action lawsuit.

Terry’s widow Marie said: “Before his death Terry had described his working conditions as horrendous as it was so dusty and dirty and the fumes were overwhelming, but they were only given small dust masks.

“We were devastated when we found out about the terminal cancer and it was a massive shock to us both. It’s been a very difficult past few years as we have tried to come to terms with it.

“Finding out his cancer was caused by simply going to work every day is so difficult to take and I can’t believe he wasn’t better protected.

“Hopefully the legal action will provide all the victims and their families the justice we deserve, and I hope all those affected by similar circumstances to Terry will seek out the advice of specialists.”

David Johnston-Keay, a specialist solicitor at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office, said: “Hundreds of former workers are now suffering simply because of the work they carried out on a day-to-day basis from the 1950s through to the 1980s and ’90s. Employees have a basic right to be able to go to work and return home safely at the end of the day. We continue to represent many people in a battle for justice and to provide for their families in future as they are now suffering diseases after working on coke ovens.”

The inquest into Terry’s death was held in Chesterfield in April.