Doncaster man's widow calls for answers after his death from asbestos related cancer

Doncaster joiner Mick Wood shortly before his death.
Doncaster joiner Mick Wood shortly before his death.

The widow of a Doncaster joiner is appealing to his former colleagues for information following his death from asbestos-related cancer.

Mary Wood, from Doncaster, instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate after husband Michael – known as Mick – died from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, on February 21, 2016. He was 70 years old.

Mick, aged 34, pictured with Mary and daughters in 1979 shortly after he left Robinson Brothers

Mick, aged 34, pictured with Mary and daughters in 1979 shortly after he left Robinson Brothers

Mary, 67, believes Mick was exposed to asbestos while working at Robinson Brothers, based at Wheatley Hills in Doncaster from 1961 to 1976.

Mick was from the Armthorpe area and was living with his family at the time of his exposure.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive, and terminal, form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, often decades before victims begin to suffer with symptoms.

According to the latest statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) more than 2,500 people in the UK lose their lives to the disease every year.

Mick, who is also survived by a son and two stepdaughters, joined Robinson Brothers as an apprentice, working hard to qualify as a joiner. He worked on both new build properties and carried out repairs and maintenance in the Doncaster area.

Mary says her husband spoke about cutting and handling asbestos gutters and downpipes and making asbestos fire doors. She is now appealing to Mick’s former colleagues who worked for Robinson Brothers to provide them with more information about the working conditions there in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mary said: “Mick’s diagnosis was such a shock to us all and we’re still coming to terms with his death which happened so soon after his diagnosis.

“Our children and I have so many questions about how he came to be exposed to asbestos and, while it cannot change what happened to him, we hope the answers will help us understand and try to move on.”

Mick was admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on December 19, 2014 and underwent a biopsy in January 2015. He was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma on November 26 that year and his health deteriorated quickly. He passed away in St John’s Hospice, in Balby, Doncaster, on February 21, 2016.

At the inquest into his death the coroner concluded that his lung cancer was as a result of industrial disease.

Adrian Budgen, a specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell said: “Through our work representing the sufferers of asbestos-related disease we are well aware of the common use of asbestos in steelworks, power stations and other industrial environments and that a significant number of employees have been exposed to the hazardous substance during their working life, decades ago.

“The first Asbestos Regulations, to manage the use of asbestos because of its danger to health, became law in 1931, so to learn that people were exposed to the fibres much later is very upsetting for the individuals or the families who come to us. By the time Mick began work, protective equipment should have been provided to employees as standard and they should have been made aware of safety precautions regarding asbestos. Mary does not believe this was the case during Mick’s time at Robinson Brothers.

“We would like to hear from Mick’s former work colleagues at Robinson Brothers, who may be able to provide the crucial information which may help provide Mary with the answers she needs.

“Anyone who has information on the working conditions he was exposed to, or the measures, if any, in place to prevent employees’ exposure to asbestos should contact us as soon as possible.”

“We are very much hoping to give Mary and her family the answers they deserve.”

Anyone with information regarding the working conditions on site at Robinson Brothers at Wheatley Hills in Doncaster in the 1960s and 1970s should contact Simone Hardy on 0114 274 4420 or email Simone.Hardy@IrwinMitchell.com