Asbestos plea for dead man’s colleagues


Lawyers acting for the family of a Bristol man who died from the fatal lung disease mesothelioma are launching a plea to his former work colleagues to get in touch.

John Rowles (Tony) in 1962John Rowles, known to his colleagues as Tony, died in March 2011 at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and an inquest ruled that the 68-year-old ex-van driver had died from mesothelioma – brought on by exposure to asbestos. This was despite the fact that his family never knew that he had even worked with the substance.

However, investigations by John’s son Mathew Rowles subsequently revealed that he could have been exposed to asbestos fibres while working at the wine merchants Averys in the early 1960s; bottling wine and changing filters in the bottling machinery several times a day.

John Rowles (Tony) in 2003"We have been in contact with one or two individuals who worked with my father between 1959 and around 1962, but we’d be very keen to connect with anyone else who knew him or worked at the factory," says Mathew. "We also want to raise awareness that the substance which caused his death could have been exposed to many more people who otherwise might not have known about it."

With the British Lung Foundation holding Action Mesothelioma Day today, Mathew’s solicitor, Emma Costin, a partner at Simpson Millar LLP says it is vital that awareness is raised about this disease.

"Obviously we are hoping that this appeal can bring people connected to John Rowles’ history back into the picture, but it also demonstrates that many of this country’s working people were exposed to asbestos even in industries that were not synonymous with its use," said Emma. "It was only because of Mathew’s research that the link between the illness that took his life and the place where he worked 50 years ago could be made. Mesothelioma has an incredibly long latency period and many decades can pass before symptoms manifest, however it is fatal in around 90% of cases."

Anyone who might be able to help with Simpson Millar and Mathew Rowles’ search or if you are concerned that you or a relative may have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, please contact Emma Costin on either email at or by telephone on 0345 357 9000.

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