Family want answers after asbestos cancer death

Jennifer Ashworth

Jennifer Ashworth

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The family of a woman who died from the terminal asbestos-related cancer is appealing to her former workmates to come forward and help with an investigation into her asbestos exposure.

Jennifer Ashworth’s brother, Simon Ashworth (58), has asked expert industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office to investigate his late sister’s exposure to asbestos, which he believes occurred during her working life in Padiham.

Although we know nothing will bring her back, we are determined to understand how she came into contact with the substance and if more could have been done by her former employers to protect her

Brother

Jennifer, from Nelson, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2014.

She and her family were devastated by the news of her illness and she died from the disease in February 2015, aged 69.

Jennifer was based at Lancashire County Council’s Springbank Adult Training Centre in West Street, Padiham, between 1968 and 2006.

Before her death, Jennifer told her family she thought she was exposed to asbestos while working at the premises.

Her role meant she spent time in the sewing room, woodworking room, laundry and kitchen. Jennifer believed her exposure to asbestos dust and fibres came from working at the centre.

The building has now been demolished and little information remains about the centre itself, although Jennifer did recall a time during the 1980s when the centre closed for a temporary period to have asbestos removed.

Simon and Jennifer’s extended family are now appealing for anyone who worked at Springbank during the period Jennifer worked there, or in the period prior to the 1980s when asbestos would still have been present in the building, to get in touch with their legal team at Irwin Mitchell.

Katrina London, an expert industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mesothelioma is a form of terminal cancer which is nearly always caused by asbestos exposure, often decades before symptoms begin to present themselves.

“We are asking for Jennifer’s former colleagues to come forward to provide information about the working conditions and the presence of asbestos at Springbank Adult Training Centre in Padiham.

“We are looking to speak to anyone who worked there between the 1960s and the year 2006 and particularly anyone who remembers asbestos being present in the building.”

Simon, from Burnley, said: “The impact the mesothelioma diagnosis had on Jennifer was absolutely terrible to see and it was awful for us all to see her in so much pain.

“When we found out the disease is caused by asbestos exposure, which Jennifer believed took place during her time at Springbank, this just added insult to injury.

“Although we know nothing will bring her back, we are determined to understand how she came into contact with the substance and if more could have been done by her former employers to protect her.

“We hope those who were at the Springbank Adult Training Centre in Padiham at the same time as Jennifer will remember her and come forward to help us get justice for her.

“Anything they can remember about the working conditions and the asbestos removal work that took place there could be absolutely crucial and help us get the answers we want about Jennifer’s death and prevent others being left without answers too.”

Anyone who thinks they may be able to help is asked to contact Katrina London, associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, on 0161 838 7262 or by email on Katrina.London@irwinmitchell.com.