Appeal to trace Peterborough brick workers after former employee develops cancer

Stephen McDonald
Stephen McDonald

A Peterborough man is asking former workers at the London Brick Company for help after being diagnosed with a lung cancer caused by past exposure to asbestos.

Stephen McDonald from London Road, in Yaxley, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2015. Mesothelioma is an aggressive and terminal lung cancer caused in the vast majority of cases by asbestos.

Stephen was diagnosed just weeks before he and his partner, Christine, were due to go on a cruise to celebrate his 60th birthday. They had to cancel the trip.

It is believed that Stephen developed the lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos while working for the London Brick Company, within the Norman Cross brickyard, from 1972 to 1980.

Stephen was employed as a labourer and worked in and around the brickyard’s setting shed and kilns. Asbestos was used on the factory site because of its heat resistant and insulating properties.

The National Asbestos Helpline and Birchall Blackburn Law are trying to trace former London Brick Company workers to help Stephen and his family make an industrial disease compensation claim.

Craig Howell, an industrial disease specialist and partner with Birchall Blackburn Law, said: “We need to hear from anyone who worked for the London Brick Company during the 1970s in Peterborough and knows about the presence of asbestos. Especially if they can tell us more about the kiln collapses, the work that followed to clean up, and the materials used to rebuild the kilns.”

Stephen first started to notice the onset of shortness of breath in the autumn of 2015. After an X-ray Stephen was sent straight to A&E and had an operation to drain excess fluid from his lungs and underwent a biopsy procedure. The tests revealed he had mesothelioma.

He says: “I feel extremely tired and exhausted after any physical exertion. I only have to walk a few yards before I have to stop to catch my breath. I suffer from pain in my torso, particularly in my back and chest, and have trouble sleeping.”

Stephen used to be an active man, who loved gardening and DIY, and had no immediate plans to retire before developing the lung cancer.

Jan Garvey, from the National Asbestos Helpline, says: “Mesothelioma is a cruel and aggressive lung cancer. It is devastating a generation of people who have worked hard all their lives and should be looking forward to a long retirement. Not enough is being done by the government and insurance companies to help victims and their families - and we need more funding for research into more effective treatments for mesothelioma.”

Anyone who knows about the presence of asbestos at the London Brick Company in Peterborough during the 1970s, please call Craig Howell from Birchall Blackburn Law on 01244 684 475 or Jan Garvey at the National Asbestos Helpline on freephone 0800 043 6635. Alternatively, email cnhowell@birchallblackburn.co.uk.

For more information and help about mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases go to www.nationalasbestos.co.uk.