Loved ones of a steel worker who died from an incurable asbestos-related cancer have launched a bid to trace his former colleagues.
Gerald McNally’s family were left devastated when he died, aged 69, from mesothelioma on July 16 last year following a seven-month battle with the illness.
They believe he was exposed to asbestos while working at British Steel and Marley Tiles in Consett, County Durham, and at British Rail at Annfield Plain. He worked for those companies between leaving school in 1957 and going to college in Manchester in 1960.
Gerald’s family – Annette Curry and Moira and John McNally – are now continuing Gerald’s battle for justice and hope his ex-colleagues will come forward with information about the conditions he worked in.
Gerald’s brother John, of Delves Lane in Consett, was also employed at British Steel. Sister Annette worked there too and at Marley Tiles.
At British Steel, Gerald worked as an administrator and the plant’s support staff regularly used the power station buildings as a short cut to the central offices.
His family believe he was exposed to the deadly dust from the turbines and boilers in the power station at Marley Tiles where he was also an administrator. They believe he may have been exposed to asbestos while walking through the firm’s workshops.
He also went to work as an administrator for British Rail at Annfield Works in Annfield Plain.
Annette, of Falcon Way, Cleveland, said: “The whole family is absolutely devastated about losing Gerald to such a debilitating illness and we want to do all we can to honour his memory and to find out where he was exposed to asbestos.
“Gerald worked at British Steel, Marley Tiles and British Rail while studying part-time in the evenings at Derwentside College.
“I also worked for British Steel when I was about 23 in 1969. I was initially employed as a lab technician and then moved to the accounts department.
“I remember the power station’s pipe work, turbines and boilers were lagged with asbestos and Gerald would probably have come into contact with it as he walked through the area to get to the offices.
“I also worked at Marley Tiles for a couple of years when I was 17 or 18 in the offices and remember the roof tiles the company made containing asbestos.
“We know very little about his role at the railway station at Annfield Plain, but we hope his former workmates can help piece together information about the working conditions.”
Roger Maddocks, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress for victims like Gerald and their families.
“Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure despite knowing how dangerous it is.
“We hope that Gerald’s former co-workers will come forward to help answer the many questions Annette and her brother and sister have about his asbestos exposure as well as what measures, if any, were in place to protect employees like him.”
Anyone with information should contact Mr Maddocks or Kirstie Wilson on 0191 279 0136 or by emailing roger. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com