Widow in plea to her husband’s workmates

WORKED WITH ASBESTOS: Former rugby player Stanley Smith who died last November.
WORKED WITH ASBESTOS: Former rugby player Stanley Smith who died last November.
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The widow of a former rugby player and Wakefield bus depot worker who died from a cancer linked to a ‘deadly dust’ is pleading for help from his former colleagues.

Stanley Smith, who died last November, believed his mesothelioma was caused by asbestos exposure during his career at the former West Riding Automobile Company Ltd in Wakefield, where he worked between 1952 and 2002, in a depot which converted World War II ambulances into buses.

The 75-year-old, who was also a winger for Wakefield Trinity and Bramley rugby league teams in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was responsible for trimming bus seat covers.

The grandad and great-grandad’s wife Molly, of Agbrigg Road in Wakefield, said: “Stanley always said his job was dirty and dusty. He would work on the bus depot’s workshop floor alongside mechanics who were servicing the vehicles and fixing the asbestos-lagged pipes and engines.

“He said he couldn’t help but breathe the dust in because they all worked so closely together.

“He was always so fit and healthy, especially when he played rugby professionally when he was younger, so it was awful to see the illness take hold. I hope his ex workmates will help investigations, so that I can honour his memory.”

Ian Toft, from lawyers Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, who are representing Molly, said: “We hope that Stanley’s ex colleagues from the West Riding Automobile Company will come forward with information about the working conditions he endured.”

An inquest into his death has been opened and adjourned in Wakefield.

Contact Ian Toft at Irwin Mitchell on 0113 2186453 or email ian.toft@irwinmitchell.com.

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