Widow asks construction workers for help in asbestos mystery

The widow of a retired construction worker is appealing for her husband’s former co-workers to come forward following his death from asbestos-related cancer. Alan Knowles, of Hinckley, died of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades before.

The diagnosis came as a shock to Alan and his family. He did not realize that his job had put him in danger and he died unknowingly when he was exposed to the carcinogenic building material.

After her husband died last year at the age of 75, his wife Susan, 73, commissioned specialists from Irwin Mitchell’s lawyers to investigate where the asbestos exposure of her husband was able to take place so that she could claim compensation for his untimely death. Susan appeals to one of the father-of-three’s former work colleagues to provide information on the conditions in which he was able to work and where.

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Lawyers are particularly keen to track down anyone who remembers Alan from when he worked for the East Midlands Electricity Board in the East Midlands, from 1963 to 1967, and Courtaulds in Coventry, from 1969 to 1979.

Susan said: “Losing Alan was a terrible experience and the whole family is still struggling to come to terms with it. Alan’s diagnosis came out of the blue and the timing of the early stages of the coronavirus lockdown wouldn’t have could have been worse.

“Alan was an amazing husband and father and didn’t deserve this to happen to him when he should have been spending time with his family and enjoying his retirement.

“Alan wanted to understand how he had been exposed to asbestos, but the progression of his disease made that impossible. The least I can do now is seek the answers in his memory and allow Alan to rest in peace.”

Nick Woods, asbestos disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Alan’s death is another terrible reminder of the terrible legacy left by asbestos. Her mesothelioma diagnosis was a complete shock to her family, who are still struggling to come to terms with her death.



Alan missed many years with his wife, children and grandchildren

“It is understandable that Susan and the rest of the family continue to have a number of concerns about how he was exposed to dangerous asbestos. While nothing can make up for what happened, we are determined to at least provide them with the answers they deserve.

“As part of our investigations, we would like to hear from one of Alan’s former co-workers about the conditions he faced during his career to help establish the truth about how he was exposed to asbestos.”

Alan started working for the East Midlands Electricity Board in 1963. The board covered a wide geographical area, from Chesterfield in the north to Milton Keynes in the south and from Coventry in the east to Skegness in the west. Alan’s job was to lay power cables for various construction projects in new residential areas.

In 1969 Alan joined Courtaulds and was employed at its plastic molding factory in Coventry for 10 years until 1979. He was based at Foleshill Road Works.

Alan was particularly keen on football and in his youth had hoped to turn professional. He had been on the Leicester City books. Alan and Susan had three children, Mark, Deborah and Simon, and five grandchildren.

Alan was in good health until he started feeling unwell in late 2019 and early 2020. After seeing his GP, Alan was referred to hospital for a number of tests and mesothelioma was diagnosed in March 2020. He died in June. 2020.

Anyone with information that could help Susan is asked to contact Nick Woods at Irwin Mitchell on 0114 274 4292 or email [email protected]

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