Chemical plant worker’s family in plea after his death is linked to asbestos

ICI Thornton back in its heyday
ICI Thornton back in its heyday
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The family of a former chemical plant worker are appealing for his former colleagues to come forward following his death from cancer – which they say was caused by exposure to asbestos.

Charles Ivor Reeves, known as Charlie and Ivor, died following a short battle with mesothelioma, a painful and terminal condition that affects the lining of the lungs.

The 81-year-old’s family hope his former work pals at Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in Thornton can help them figure out how he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres, which they believe caused his death in 2014 – decades after he left the firm.

His grandson, 36-year-old Carl Palmer, from Wilkinson Way, Preesall, said: “It was terrible to see my grandad in so much pain and distress caused by the mesothelioma he was diagnosed with.

“We want to know how he came into contact with asbestos, which we believe happened during his time at ICI, and if more could have been done to warn him of the risks he was being exposed to, and to prevent him from inhaling the substance that caused him to develop such a terrible disease decades later.”

Mr Reeves, formerly of Epping Close in Bispham, worked at ICI – now defunct – from 1961 until 1990 as a chemical process worker.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell, which has been instructed by Mr Palmer to probe how he came into contact with asbestos, say Mr Reeves never told his family about his working conditions and how his former work friends can help.

Specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer Katrina London said: “We know from experience from those who worked in industry, where asbestos was commonly used to lag pipe work, were often exposed when lagging fell into a state of disrepair and was disturbed during regular maintenance and annual shut down periods.

“We have represented many other men who worked in ICI plants who were exposed to asbestos from removal of lagging on pipes or from working next to laggers.”

In 2009, Blackpool Coroner’s Court ruled former process worker Anthony Henthorn, 71, of North Drive, Cleveleys, died from exposure to asbestos.

He had worked for ICI for many years from 1965.

In a statement made to his solicitors when he became ill with the disease, he told how the pipes were lagged with asbestos and work would be done on pipes while people were working nearby.

It created dust and no precautions were taken, Mr Henthorn’s inquest heard.

Anyone with information can call Claire McKay on 0161 838 3181.