Asbestos victim appeals for help from former Leyland Motors joiners

A Leyland pensioner crippled by an asbestos-related disease is appealing to former Leyland Motors workers to help secure him justice and the care he badly needs.

The 85-year-old, who does not wish to be named, has been diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening. In the vast majority of cases the lung disease is developed after exposure to asbestos and causes severe breathlessness, which limits everyday activity that most people take for granted.

The Leyland-born, father of two used to enjoy an active retirement but now struggles to walk a short distance without stopping to rest. He can no longer go ballroom dancing with his wife, which they have done for more than 50 years, or play with his six grandchildren and great-granddaughter. He has been told by doctors that he will not get better.

Helen Bradley, an experienced industrial disease specialist and partner with Birchall Blackburn Law, says: “My client worked as a painter and decorator for Leyland Motors on the Farrington site from 1964 to 1972. He was exposed to asbestos whilst working above and sometimes within the joiner’s shop where asbestos sheets were cut with a band saw, which sent the deadly dust and fibres into the air.

“He remembers the dust from the saw being a nuisance as it was important to keep the areas clean for painting. He would have to wipe surfaces with a rag and his hair and hands were covered in dust.”

In the late 1960s there was a push to fire proof Leyland Motors sites. The fire resistant properties of asbestos meant that the asbestos sheets would have been used by the joiners to attach to doors and wooden frames to make fireproof partitioning throughout the factories.

Helen added: “Any information from people who worked at the Farrington site would be helpful but we especially need the help of people who worked in the joiner’s shop at the time, and can recall the conditions, the use of asbestos and the fireproofing policy.”

Diffuse pleural thickening refers to the thickening of the lining of the lung, called the pleura, which is a thin layer that covers the inside of the rib cage and the outside of the lungs. As well as breathlessness, a sufferer can develop a debilitating cough, tiredness and weight loss.

If any person can help with information about asbestos and Leyland Motor’s Farrington site during the 1960s and 1970s please call Helen Bradley on 0161 238 5637 or email hxbradley@birchallblackburn.co.uk. All details will remain confidential.