Daughter's appeal after mesothelioma death of former shipyard worker from South Shields

The daughter of a former shipyard turner is appealing to her dad’s former workmates following his death from asbestos-related cancer.

Vincent Dolphin, 90, from South Shields, died last September after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs often associated with exposure to asbestos decades previously.

Now his daughter Eleanor Dart, 58, also from South Shields, has instructed asbestos-related disease specialists at solicitor Irwin Mitchell to investigate her father’s illness and where his exposure to asbestos could have occurred.

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The legal team is particularly keen to hear from anyone who worked at aerospace manufacturer Ford & Co in South Shields; shipbuilder Swan Hunter Wigham Richardson in Wallsend and a Sunderland aerospace firm Bristol Siddley Engines Limited.

Specialist lawyer Emma Bell said: “Vincent was in good health prior to his mesothelioma diagnosis, which came like a bolt from the blue for the family.

“Understandably Vincent’s family have a number of concerns about how he was exposed to asbestos and we’re determined to support Eleanor as she seeks answers concerning her dad’s death.

“As part of our investigations we’d be grateful to hear from anyone who worked with Vincent at any of these companies. Any new information, no matter how small, could be a big help in giving Eleanor and the family some closure and the answers they deserve.”

Vincent began working as an apprentice at Ford & Co on Commercial Road in South Shields in 1945 after leaving school at 14.

Vincent Dolphin

From 1952 to 1954, he took a break from work to carry out national service with the Durham Light Infantry.

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On his return, Vincent re-joined Ford & Co from 1954 to 1957 before being employed by Swan Hunter in 1963, where it is believed that he worked as a borer, a job he also held from 1964 to 1965 at Bristol Siddley.

Vincent retired aged 65 in 1996, after which he lived a full and active life and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren.

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Vincent (left) during his national service
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He first started to notice symptoms in April 2021 and following an appointment with his GP, he was referred for tests. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on September 7 and died, surrounded by his family, just six days later.

Eleanor said: “Dad’s mesothelioma diagnosis came as a real shock. He had often spoken with family and friends of working with what he believed was asbestos but we never imagined it would cost him his life.

“He was so fit and well despite his age, so to see him suffer in those final days was a terrible experience and an ordeal Dad and the family did not deserve.

“Dad was keen to look into his asbestos exposure but the disease progressed too fast to make that possible. Given he was denied the opportunity in his life; we’re keen to seek the truth in his memory.

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“If anyone out there has any information, we’d really appreciate hearing from them. It would mean a lot and help us seek the answers dad was so keen to discover.”

Anyone with information that could help Eleanor, is asked to contact Stephanie Wilson on 0191 434 0731 or by email at [email protected]

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