Inquiry finds local man died of mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos

Family appeals for help to determine how and when he was exposed to the deadly substance

85-year-old Michael Kenyon from Upton St Leonards, Gloucester, had been a keen sportsman and a dedicated husband, father and grandfather, who had been enjoying his retirement with his wife before his health rapidly deteriorated in the summer of 2020.

Following a visit to his doctor, he was referred to Gloucester Royal Hospital for an x-ray to investigate the cause of his upper back pain last October. The scan revealed that he was suffering from mesothelioma – a cancer caused by exposure to microscopic asbestos fibres. He started a course of Chemotherapy, but sadly passed away suddenly from the fatal disease on January 14th, 2021.

His family have now instructed expert industrial disease lawyers at Simpson Millar to help them in their investigation to determine when and where he was exposed to the deadly fibres, and whether more could have been done to protect him.

It is thought that Michael may have been exposed to asbestos fibres in the 1970’s when he was employed as a Project Engineer at the Gloucester Foundry. The family are particularly keen to hear from anyone who worked at the foundry between 1970 and 1981 who may recall what working conditions were like at that time.

Speaking before his death, Michael recalled that the Gloucester Foundry had been the third largest malleable iron foundry in the UK at the time he had worked there – employing around 500 workers and producing about 200 tonnes of castings per week for the car industry.

Describing the working environment, he said it was a ‘very dirty, dusty and noisy place’, and that the foundry had a reputation for throwing out ‘awful caustic smoke and fumes’.

Appealing to anyone who may have worked with his father during his time at Gloucester Foundry, his son Andrew, said: “Dad had a great life full of family and friends, and he was fit and active to almost the end. His life was cut short however by exposure to asbestos and we would like to get to the bottom of where and when he was exposed to asbestos, and whether more could and should have been done to protect him”.

Michael Kenyon
The family’s lawyer, Anthony Waddington from Simpson Millar, is assisting in their appeal for information. He said: “Workplace negligence regarding employee exposure to asbestos has a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of people every year.

“Mesothelioma alone contributes to 2,500 deaths annually – and decades after the exposure occurred - and this is a figure that continues to increase and devastate the lives of victims as well as their families.

“While the dangers of asbestos have been known for many decades there are still, sadly, many people dying prematurely as a result of related illnesses, because they were not made aware of its presence and provided with protective equipment at the time.

“We are asking for anyone who worked at Gloucester Foundry between 1970 and 1981 to please come forward with information about the working conditions. Likewise, if you had a family member who worked for the company at this time, please do get in touch."

If you have any information, please contact Anthony Waddington or on 0345 357 9600.

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