Family of a borough woman who died after developing asbestos-related mesothelioma are urging her former workmates to come forward with information about the working conditions at the plant where they think she may have contracted it.
Joan Mary Barrow, whose maiden name was Longmate, worked on an assembly line at the at Ward and Goldstone factory in Hindsford, Atherton, between 1972 and 1973, fitting and making plug sockets.
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For years afterwards she enjoyed a healthy life.
But in August 2015 she started suffering chest pain, breathlessness and fatigue, which her family thought was pneumonia and a chest infection.
However, her GP referred her to a consultant, who diagnosed her with the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma in November 2015. It only takes one fibre, inhaled into the lungs, to cause the illness, having often lain dormant for decades first.
Joan died 18 months later on June 29 2017, aged 67.
Her children Lesley and Andrew are now appealing to her former factory colleagues to contact the asbestos specialists at Thompsons Solicitors if they have any information about working conditions at the factory.
“Our mum’s illness completely disabled her,” said Lesley.
“She never smoked, never drank and was always fit and very healthy. We assumed her illness was something that would pass and she would get better.
“We were absolutely shocked and heartbroken at being told our Mum had the terminal cancer, mesothelioma.
“Our family is completely devastated with the loss of our lovely Mum, who fought a brave battle but suffered terribly.
“Our lives are ruined - we have been robbed of our mum, and my six-year-old son has been robbed of his only grandma. She would have lived a very long life.
“We will never get over losing her and want justice for her.”
Thompsons Solicitors’ asbestos disease team has vast experience in supporting families affected by mesothelioma, securing compensation for them and signposting them to charities and support groups.
Michael Wolstencroft, of Thompsons Solicitors, hopes information from those who worked at the factory can help the family.
“Mesothelioma is an aggressive and fatal form of cancer that currently has no cure,” he said.
“While asbestos use was banned in the UK nearly 20 years ago, there are still thousands of people dying each year because of previous exposure.
“We would like to speak with anyone who could shed some light on the working conditions at Ward and Goldstone Limited in Hindsford, Atherton, between 1972 and 1973, so we can advise the family and assist them come to terms with what happened.”
Anyone who worked with Joan, or has information about exposure to asbestos at Ward and Goldstone Limited in Hindsford during this time, should contact Michael Wolstencroft at Thompsons’ Manchester office on 0161 819 3571.