Family appeals for help in fight for justice

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Family appeals for help in fight for justice

18th March 2010

The family of a man who died from an industrial disease is appealing to his former colleagues to come forward and help in their fight for justice.

Thomas Holland, known as Tom, was 82 when he died in September 2007. Although he lived in Wilmslow, Cheshire, Mr Holland worked for Salford-based CWS and later Manchester City Council's Direct Works Department in the 1940s and 50s.

Following his death, a post-mortem revealed he had been suffering from asbestos-related lung cancer. Now Sheila Holland, his wife of more than 60 years, and their four children are hoping former workmates in the Salford and Greater Manchester area can provide help as they fight for compensation over his death.

Lesley Mynett, an industrial disease specialist with Manchester-based Fentons Solicitors LLP, is representing the family. She said the case now hinged on finding witnesses who could confirm Mr Holland was exposed to deadly asbestos fibres through his work in the region between 1946 and 1952.

"Mr Holland said that during his time as a plumber with CWS he was exposed to significant amounts of asbestos," said Ms Mynett. "We know that he would have been routinely exposed to asbestos when he disturbed pipe and boiler lagging in several factories owned by CWS, and he said the air was thick with asbestos dust in the boiler houses he worked in," she said.

"He was also exposed while working as a plumber for the council's Direct Works Department," said Ms Mynett, "with asbestos pipe lagging being present in a large number of commercial and domestic properties across the region."

"It takes many years after exposure to asbestos before any related disease becomes apparent, which can make finding witnesses and information about the employer very difficult," said Ms Mynett.

"The problem we now face is tracing colleagues who can confirm that Mr Holland worked for CWS and the council's Direct Works Department during this time, and that he was exposed to asbestos on a regular basis."

Mr Holland's daughter Kathryn Black said she was hopeful that someone would come forward and help her family win justice for her father.

"Dad worked all his life, but it was the work he had done more than 40 years ago that killed him," she said. "He spent years working across Manchester, and I just hope that some of his former colleagues remember him."

Ms Mynett urged anyone who remembered working alongside Mr Holland, or who worked for CWS or the council's Direct Works Department during the same period, to get in touch.

"Unless we can track former colleagues down and prove that Tom was exposed to asbestos, Mrs Holland and her family may go uncompensated for the fact that they lost a husband and father to this dreadful illness," said Ms Mynett.

Can you help?
If you or you think you can help in any way, please call Lesley Mynett on 0161 238 6417 or e-mail