Witness appeal after tragic death of caring 91 year old husband from asbestos left wife to die alone

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A brother and sister are appealing for witnesses who may have worked on the railways with their dearly loved great uncle, in the hope that they can shed light on where he first came into contact with the deadly substance which eventually caused his death.

91-year-old Ivor Lee of Bradwell in north Norfolk had spent all his retirement caring for his wife Doris, who had dementia.

Ivor and Doris had been married for 70 years. But when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer he was admitted to hospital, leaving Doris without her carer.

As a result, Doris was taken into respite care and she died on 10 July 2017 at the James Paget Hospital, only 20 days before her husband who sadly died on 30 July at the same hospital.

They left a grieving great-nephew and niece, Grant Jones and Leigh Jarvis, who they had brought up as their own children after their mother tragically died when they were young.

In January this year an inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court, and subsequent post mortem examination, confirmed that Ivor died of an asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. Now, Grant and Leigh are keen to learn where he may have contracted the disease, which often takes decades to develop.

He spent 25 years working with British Rail, from before 1960 to 1964 and again from 1970 to 1990, when he retired. He also spent 10 years working for Heatrae.

Asbestos was often used as lagging for pipes and Ivor spent some time at British Rail working as a boilermaker. He also served as a fitter, train guard and then a driver.

He mostly worked out of South Town station, long since closed since the Beeching cuts, though also from Norwich.

Grant and Leigh need evidence of working conditions at the time either at British Rail or Heatrae, from anybody who may have been among his colleagues. They hope to be able to establish where Ivor came into contact with the deadly substance.

In going through their great uncle and auntie’s personal papers, Grant and Leigh have discovered a few old photos of Ivor in his British Rail days. One shows him with a group of his workmates. Ivor is the gentleman on the back row second from right.

They are hoping that others may recognise themselves from the picture and remember Ivor, so they can shed light on the situation in which he may have come into contact with asbestos.
Anybody with any information which they may feel could help is encouraged to call the family’s lawyer, asbestos specialist Martyn Hayward at Ashtons Legal, on 01223 431112.


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