A RETIRED joiner from Bridlington suffering from the incurable cancer mesothelioma is appealing for his former work colleagues to help lawyers investigate why he was allowed to come into contact with asbestos, which causes the disease.
Edward Ellis King, of Old Town in Bridlington, a devoted husband and father of two daughters, is now coming to terms with his own illness as well as caring for his wife of 40 years Marion, who suffers from severe arthritis.
He worked for Lissett Caravans in Lissett from 1973 to 1975, where he was responsible for building static mobile homes in the company’s factory, which has now closed.
Now he is hoping that he can trace former colleagues who may be able to help Edward’s lawyers Irwin Mitchell investigate how he came into contact with the asbestos.
Edward, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2011, believes he came into contact with asbestos in 1975 while working on a special project building prototypes of six new caravans for the company’s showrooms. His job entailed cutting large sheets of asbestos, which covered his hair, face and overalls in asbestos dust.
The 73-year-old first started to show signs of the illness in November 2010 when he suffered a persistent cough, which lasted until the New Year and made him feel constantly sick. Over the next couple of months he underwent scans and chest x-rays and went to Scarborough Hospital in March 2011 as an outpatient, where fluid was drained from his lungs and doctors told him the devastating news he was suffering from mesothelioma.
He has since endured radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery at Castle Hill Hospital in Hull. In March this year he also had four litres of fluid drained from his lungs.
Edward said: “I was really shocked and upset when I was told I had an asbestos-related cancer, but thankfully the doctors caught the disease early enough to treat the symptoms and prevent it spreading for now, which I’m really grateful for. I like playing snooker and also enjoy gardening and DIY, which I’m still able to do if I’m careful not to exert myself too much.
“Towards the end of my job at Lissett in 1975, the company brought in a new caravan model which they wanted several making for their showrooms. I remember working with just one colleague on the project called Frank. Me and Frank roughly cut the asbestos sheeting with a circular saw and the dust would go everywhere.
“I was never warned about the dangers of asbestos or given a mask or protective clothing to wear.
“Although the company has now been dissolved, I’d be really grateful if any of my former colleagues could help Irwin Mitchell investigate the conditions at the factory to help my case but I also hope my case helps raise awareness of the debilitating effect asbestos is now having on people like me.”
Ian Toft, an industrial disease expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, is representing Edward.
He said: “Edward and his family are still coming to terms with his mesothelioma diagnosis and the effect it is having on his health. More than 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. It’s a devastating terminal illness and can be very distressing for the victims and their families.
“To help Edward’s family get to the bottom of why he was exposed to asbestos we would like to hear from anyone who has information about the company’s insurance history or who worked at the Lissett Caravans factory who can shed light on the working conditions he endured before the company folded in the late 1970s.”
Anyone with information should contact Mr Toft on 0113 218 6453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org