Norwich man appeals to old workmates as asbestos exposure threatens his life

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A terminally ill Norwich man is appealing to former workmates to help identify the source of the asbestos which has caused his illness.

Last Christmas Barry Henry, aged 84, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a form of lung cancer almost invariably associated with exposure to asbestos.

The disease takes at least two or three decades after the exposure to appear, by which time there is little effective treatment.

Barry became increasingly breathless and suffered a dry cough and weight loss.  When he presented his symptoms to his GP he was immediately sent to the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital, where two litres of fluid was drained from his lung.

He had suffered from pleural plaques, a lesser and non-malignant asbestos-related disease, for several years.

He has been regularly monitored for the condition, and describes it as having been like the ‘sword of Damacles’ hanging over him for years.

Now, Barry is anxious to track down where he might have come into contact with the asbestos that will probably cost him his life.

He is appealing to his old workmates who may remember him and the conditions in which they worked, to come forward with any information they remember about the presence of asbestos.

Barry worked as a gas fitter for the Gas Board from 1951 until 1964.  He was employed in maintenance at the University of East Anglia (UEA) from then until 1969, when he returned to the Gas Board until 1993.


He knows there was asbestos in the plant room and service ducting of the Arts building at the UEA, because he still has the letter from the university advising their staff of it.

But in order to pursue a legal case against either the UEA or the successors in title of the Eastern Gas Board, Barry needs to hear what his workmates remember.

His lawyer is asbestos specialist Martyn Hayward of Ashtons Legal.

‘If there’s anyone who remembers working alongside Barry, either for the Gas Board or the UEA, and can recall the circumstances of his exposure to asbestos, then he would like some answers,’ Martyn Hayward explains.

‘He wouldn’t want others to go through what he and his family are having to endure, and there is the possibility that former colleagues or others may also be at risk.’

Anybody who may recall working with Barry or who remembers conditions at the places he worked at the time is asked to contact Martyn Hayward


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