Family of Leeds great-grandmother of eight appeal to former mill workers following asbestos-related death

Barbara Jessup
Barbara Jessup
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The family of a former mill worker from Leeds who died from an asbestos-related cancer are seeking information from anyone who may have worked with her to help determine how she could have developed the disease.

Barbara Jessup, grandmother and great-grandmother of eight, died in March at the age of 85 following a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

The condition is a cancer of the lining of the lungs commonly associated with exposure to asbestos decades ago.

Her family are now looking for former employees of Reuben Gaunt and Sons Limited or Genista Limited, who were based at Springfield Mill and Broom Mill in Farsley, to come forward with information in relation to Barbara’s employment history and also the working conditions there, in order to establish how she was exposed to the hazardous substance.

Barbara’s family have instructed specialist asbestos-related lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how she came into contact with the material during her working years.

Nicola Handley, specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: “This is yet another case of someone who has developed a horrific disease because of being exposed to asbestos many years ago.

“We are appealing for anyone who worked alongside Barbara to come forward and provide further information which may help us determine how her exposure could have occurred.

“Asbestos-related diseases can be devastating and symptoms only develop many years after the exposure to harmful dust and fibres. Any piece of information, no matter how big or small, could ultimately prove vital to our efforts and to help the family gain answers and justice.”

Barbara was employed from 1968/69 to 1975/76 and recalled that asbestos was present in the mills.

She was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2018, following symptoms of breathlessness and a cough, and deteriorated quickly.

Barbara’s son Jonathan said: “Mum did talk to us prior to her death about her time working in the mill when we were younger, and she also discussed her employment with my sister Heather.

“Unfortunately, mum deteriorated so quickly, it was very difficult for us to speak to her at length about her employment history and any former work colleagues.

“It was awful to see how quickly the mesothelioma affected someone who had been living independently and was generally fit and well.

“We hope that we are able to find answers and continue the investigation that mum started when she was alive.”

Anyone with any information that could assist with this case is asked to contact Nicola Handley at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0113 220 6233 or by e-mail at