Irwin Mitchell law firm seeks old Leeds clothing factory staff as it investigates asbestos cancer death
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Margaret Oates was 82, when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2021.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that grows in the lining of the lungs and is most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following her diagnosis, Margaret, who was married with two children, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, instructed specialist asbestos-related disease solicitors at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether she could have been exposed to asbestos during her time working for Montague Burton or Alexandre Limited in Leeds.
Margaret’s loved ones are now joining with their legal team by appealing to her former colleagues for information on the working conditions she faced.
Nicola Handley, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer representing Margaret’s family, said: “Through our work we are instructed by many people whose lives are devastated by asbestos many years after initial exposure has occurred.
“Our initial investigations often involve asking clients such as Margaret to try to recall the working conditions that they worked in decades ago whilst they are also trying to come to terms with a devastating diagnosis.”
She added: “Asbestos was used in many industries and was also located in many buildings unbeknownst to the employees that are working in them and it was often disturbed whilst routine maintenance work was taking place.
“Margaret’s family are now asking for anyone that worked at Montague Burton or Alexandre Ltd (also known as Alexander Rose) in Leeds to come forward with any information that they may have that could help us with our investigations.
“Any detail, no matter how small, could prove vital.”
Margaret recalled leaving school in 1954 and going to work for Montague Burton, later know as Burtons and part of the Leeds historic tailoring industry as a machinist.
She recalled manufacturing men’s trousers and working in a very busy factory. Margaret recalled working in the vicinity of Hoffman presses and that there was also lots of pipework lagged with asbestos in the factory. Margaret believed that this is where exposure to asbestos would have occurred.
Margaret then went to work for Alexandre Ltd in approximately 1961/62 again as a machinist and that the working conditions were the same and exposure to asbestos would also have occurred at this factory. Margaret also returned to work at Montague Burtons in 1965/66 for a few more years before becoming a house wife and looking after her children
Margaret started feeling unwell in December 2021. Unfortunately, she deteriorated rapidly, complaining of shortness of breath, loss of appetite and fatigue. Margaret was admitted to St Gemma’s Hospice and died on March 21, 2022.
Margaret’s husband, Colin, 83 said: “The diagnosis was a huge shock to the family and it is very difficult to understand how a job that Margaret did so many years ago could result in a diagnosis of cancer so many years later. Margaret and I were married for over 50 years and as a family, we are determined to find out how she was exposed to asbestos.
“Margaret was my soulmate and I miss her every day. It’s only a few months since I lost her and the devastation and upset is still very raw for us all. To watch her deteriorate as quick as she did was awful, especially knowing there was nothing I can do to help. All I can do now is get the answers she sought before she died.”
He added: “If anyone remembers working at the companies themselves and have any knowledge in relation to the working conditions, please could they get in touch.”
Anyone with information that may assist with this case is asked to contact Nicola Handley on 07711 345400 or 0113 220 6233 or by email at: [email protected]