Asbestos disease call over historic Hebburn workplace

January 1969   Clerical workers leaving Reyrolles, Hebburn, after failing to reach agreement with the management over a pay dispute.
January 1969 Clerical workers leaving Reyrolles, Hebburn, after failing to reach agreement with the management over a pay dispute.
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A South Tyneside family are appealing for help to establish how their father came into contact with the asbestos that lead to his death.

Hebburn dad Ronald Flowdy died last month aged 94 after battling mesothelioma - an incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Ronald Flowdy was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Ronald Flowdy was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Mr Flowdy, who was diagnosed in June, was a former employee at A Reyrolle & Company Limited in Hebburn from the 1930s until the 1970s, starting out with an apprenticeship as an electrical fitter, before becoming a production engineer and senior production engineer at the firm. In his final years he worked in the relay division, heading up the product development workshop.

Following his death, his children Angela Tilley and Roy Flowdy, have called industrial disease lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he came into contact with the material.

They believe their father was exposed to asbestos while he worked for the Hebburn workplace and want to know if more could have been done to protect him from the health risks associated with the substance.

His son Roy, who also started work at the firm in the 1970s, said the firm manufactured switchgear and motors and that asbestos was commonly used in the electrical manufacturing process from the 1930s until the 1970s.

Roy said: “His diagnosis of mesothelioma has come as a huge shock to all of us and we hope his former colleagues will come forward and provide any details they have about his exposure to asbestos at work.”

The family are being represented by Irwin Mitchell. Rodger Maddocks from the firm said: “We know from experience that asbestos was commonly used in this industry and Ronald’s children are keen to hear from those who worked with their father as they continue to look for answers to explain the health problems their dad is now suffering with.”

Anyone with information about working practices at the workplace between the 1930s and 1970s should contact Michael McGowan on: 0191 434 0704. Or email: michael.mcgowan@irwinmitchell.com