The family of a former carpenter are trying to track down his former colleagues to find out what could have caused the asbestos-related cancer which led to his death. William Weaver, from Pontypool, died in March 2021, just five months after he was diagnosed with Mesothelioma – a disease which is more prevalent in the UK than anywhere else in the world.
Sadly, William’s illness progressed so rapidly he was unable to detail where he had come into contact with asbestos before he died – although he was able to tell his medical team, and son Richard, that he was exposed to asbestos dust at work. Now, on Action Mesothelioma Day (1 July) his family are hoping the local community can help them piece things together.
William’s son, Richard Weaver, said:
We know dad undertook a 5-year carpentry apprenticeship with WA Davis after leaving school in 1953. He then spent some time after that completing his National Service and travelling the world. When he returned to Wales in 1962, he worked as a jobbing carpenter. He told me that, as part of this role he was required to cut asbestos sheet cladding to size. Cutting asbestos sheets triggers the release of asbestos fibres into the atmosphere, resulting in exposure to the deadly dust.
William particularly recalled working on the construction of Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny; the Ty Fry housing estate in Blaenavon; the County Hall in Cwmbran; the Llandegfedd Reservoir and flyovers in Newport town centre. We know that during this period William had worked for a number of companies including M J Gleeson; Thyssen Shaft Sinking Co (GB) Ltd; C Walmsley; Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd; Tersons Ltd; Wilson Lovatt & Sons Ltd; Truscon Ltd; The Cementation Co Ltd; Holland Hannen & Cubitta (Southern) Ltd; and E Turner & Sons Ltd.
Richard has now instructed specialist asbestos disease solicitor, Richard Green, at leading Welsh law firm, Hugh James, to help him investigate his father’s working conditions further.
The family need to know exactly what William was working on while employed by each individual company. They’re appealing for help from any witnesses who worked with William Weaver for any of the companies, or on any of the construction projects, listed. Even if people don’t remember William, any information provided about the working conditions at these construction sites could help his son’s quest for answers as to how his father was exposed to asbestos dust at work.
Sadly, William’s wife died before him and he was no longer in touch with any former colleagues who might have been able to confirm what he had been doing, and when.
Specialist Solicitor at Hugh James, Richard Green, said:
We know that Mr Weaver would have almost certainly been exposed to asbestos as a carpenter, mostly likely whilst cutting asbestos insulation board or Asbestolux sheets. In order to pursue a claim against one of the above companies, we ideally need to locate one of Mr Weaver’s former colleagues who can confirm that he did in fact work with asbestos. Alternatively, even if you did not know Mr Weaver but worked on any of the above jobs or with one of the above companies and came into contact with asbestos, we would really appreciate speaking to you. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated by Mr Weaver’s family.
William’s family are just one of many seeking answers around their loved one’s death from asbestos-related cancer. Action Mesothelioma Day takes place on the 1 July each year and is an annual day to raise awareness and pay tribute to all those people suffering with the disease. Around 2,700 people are diagnosed in the UK every year, with roughly 100 of those in Wales.
Wales is well-known for its strong industrial heritage. From the 18th century, right up to recent times, the country was at the epicentre of the UK’s iron, steel, coal, and energy production. A powerhouse of the industrial revolution, at its height, Wales had tens of thousands of people working in these sectors. But, while industry transformed its economy and communities, Wales is now paying a heavy price for its past.
Far too many industrial workers, and their families, have since been diagnosed with asbestos-related conditions – such as mesothelioma. It’s a heart-breaking legacy. Mesothelioma can take up to 50 years to develop after exposure to asbestos. The median life expectancy following diagnosis is approximately 9 months and treatment options are limited. It’s a cancer that is only caused by asbestos and Wales is one of the hardest hit areas of the UK.
Commenting on the disease, Richard Green, who is a Hugh James Partner, and Head of the Asbestos team, said: “It’s tragic that the number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma continues to increase year on year. Mesothelioma is a condition which can only be caused by historic asbestos exposure and due to the long latency period, the number of people being diagnosed continues to increase.
As a lawyer specialising in this area of law we work hard to ensure that those diagnosed with this terrible condition are able to access much needed compensation to which they are entitled. Industry turned a ‘blind eye’ to the dangers of asbestos for far to long with little regard for the future welfare of those who worked so hard. We continue to assist many tradesmen and women who were exposed to asbestos and also those who have suffered a much more fleeting asbestos exposure such as teachers, nurses and office workers.”
If you are able to help in any way, please contact Richard Green on 02920 391100 or [email protected]