Family of King’s Lynn woman plea for former workers to come forward

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The family of a Lynn woman who believed washing her first husband’s dirty overalls led to her development of asbestos-related cancer are seeking justice.

Kathleen Carnegie, 70, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung commonly associated with asbestos exposure, after she suffered breathlessness and tests revealed there was fluid on her lungs.

Following the diagnosis in January, Kathleen instructed a specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer to investigate how she came to develop the illness, but died June this year ahead of receiving the information.

While she was not exposed to the material during office jobs throughout her working life, it is believed that washing her first husband’s, Anthony Nixon, overalls may have played a part.

However, as he passed away in 2003, she joined with Irwin Mitchell to call on his former colleagues to come forward with information regarding the working conditions he may have faced.

Kathleen’s son, Nigel, who has taken over the legal case following her passing, said: “Mum’s diagnosis was a shock to us all. Considering mum only ever worked in offices we were all stunned when she was told she has mesothelioma and we can only think it has come about after washing Tony’s clothes.

“I remember talking to her about her condition and she would tell me how she could still remember the smell of Tony’s overalls and how dusty they were.

“She often would have to wash them a couple of times a week and would always need to give them a shake before getting started. She didn’t have a washing machine then either, so she was often washing them by hand.”

Anthony, known as Tony to his friends and family, worked at Cape Asbestos from 1960 to around 1969, with Kathleen recalling how he wore his overalls in the family car as he travelled home and would keep them on after returning to the house.

Specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is representing Kathleen, Samantha Shaw said: “Our client’s story may seem unusual, but we have seen a great number of cases in which people have developed mesothelioma despite never working in close contact with asbestos.

“In such circumstances, it is often the case that exposure to the materials has come as a result of close contact with clothing worn by those who have worked in environments where the materials has been present. Asbestos exposure is often linked to industrial environments or trade professions.

“We would be keen to hear from anyone who recalls working with Tony or can provide information on the working conditions he would have faced at Cape Asbestos during the 1960s. Any detail could prove valuable in our efforts to secure vital support for Kathleen.”

Anyone with information should contact Samantha Shaw on 01223 791 815 or email samantha.shaw@IrwinMitchell.com.