Following the death of her husband from an asbestos-related lung disease, a widow is appealing for help from heating and plumbing engineers who worked for Calveley Heating Ltd, based in Llangefni, or Gwynedd County Council during the 1970s.
William (Bill) Royston Haines died in March 2014 at the age of 72 from asbestosis, which is a lung disease caused by breathing in asbestos dust and fibres.
Bill was a plumber and heating engineer for Calveley Heating Ltd in Llangefni from 1971 to 1974 and again between 1977 and 1978, and Gwynedd County Council from 1974 through to 1977.
Bill and his wife, Pam, lived in Anglesey at the time. He travelled widely across North Wales working within industrial, commercial, public and residential properties. Asbestos was widely used in many buildings – including homes, schools, factories and council buildings – for its fire-proof and insulation properties. It was part of his job to strip out old boilers and replace pipes, which would have contained asbestos.
Bill and Pam were married for 50 years and he leaves behind a daughter, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
With the help of the National Asbestos Helpline and Birchall Blackburn Law, Pam and her family are appealing to anyone who worked for, or alongside, Calveley Heating Ltd and Gwynedd County Council heating engineers during the 1970s. They may remember finding asbestos in many buildings, built after World War II, where plumbing and engineering maintenance work was carried out.
Pam says: “There were no masks or anything like that in those days. In recent years Bill had started to hear of a lot of people his age dying of asbestos exposure. He said that he’d got to the age of 72 and would be alright, but it got him in the end.
“We think he was diagnosed with the lung disease so late because he was determined to get on with it. Even after he was diagnosed with the lung disease he didn’t give up – he was still cutting the hedge – and we thought he’d got it under control. He was determined that it wouldn’t slow him down.”
Asbestosis affects people exposed to high levels of asbestos over many years. Once inhaled, the asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs and over a number of decades permanently damage the air sacs that supply oxygen to the blood stream.
The condition can severely restrict breathing and leaves sufferers with breathlessness, chest pains and coughing after only gentle activity. There is no cure and in severe cases it causes death.
Jan Garvey, from the National Asbestos Helpline, says: “We talk to people like Pam every day. They’re active and looking forward to the rest of their lives with their family but suddenly face a terrible illness and uncertainty. The asbestos legacy continues to destroy people’s lives but if we can secure some form of help and support for sufferers and their families, it means the world to them.”
Fiona Hendry, an asbestos-disease specialist with Birchall Blackburn Law, says: “Asbestosis takes decades to develop after exposure to asbestos, which often denies hardworking people like Bill and his family the justice and support they deserve. After such a long time it can be difficult to uncover the evidence needed to find out where and when exposure to asbestos dust occurred.
“So, to help Pam and her family, we would like to hear from anyone who worked for Gwynedd County Council’s heating engineers unit during the 1970s or also worked for Calveley Heating Ltd at the time. They may well have worked with Bill Haines or know about the presence of asbestos where he worked. Any information could be of great help and your details will remain confidential.”
If you think you can help please call Fiona Hendry from Birchall Blackburn Law on 01244 684 475 or Jan Garvey at the National Asbestos Helpline on freephone 0800 043 6635. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and help about asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases go to www.nationalasbestos.co.uk