Terminally ill man with asbestos-related cancer searching for former colleagues

Ian Mitchell is hoping to track down his former work colleagues to find out where he may have been e

Ian Mitchell is hoping to track down his former work colleagues to find out where he may have been exposed to asbestos Picture: DAVE RICHARDSON - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man seriously ill with an asbestos-related cancer has launched an appeal to track down his former work colleagues to help him find evidence of where he may have contracted the disease.

Ian Mitchell, 72 and from Bury St Edmunds, was diagnosed last year with terminal mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer usually linked to asbestos exposure.

Asbestos was widely used as a building material due to its insulating and heat resistant properties.

However, it became apparent that it posed huge health risks and was completely outlawed in the UK in 1999.

Mr Mitchell worked in a variety of roles throughout Suffolk, including in office and factory positions.

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His appeal to track down former colleagues is being handled by Phoebe Osborne, asbestos specialist at Ashtons Legal Solicitors, who said her client has been "wracking his brain" over how he breathed in asbestos, having never worked in construction.

Miss Osborne said: "It's been a huge struggle for Ian. He's been hospitalised several times and receiving chemotherapy.

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"His son only got married a few weeks ago, and next year he will be celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary.

"It will be brilliant if he makes it."

Although it may have been more than 30 years since Mr Mitchell breathed in contaminated dust, his mesothelioma has slowly developed over the last few decades.

Mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure can take anywhere between 20 and 50 years to develop.

Mr Mitchell has the right to sue for the illness caused by breathing in asbestos - but needs evidence from his former co-workers to back up his appeal.

Miss Osborne added: "We can be clear that Ian's illness is caused by being in contact with asbestos dust at some point during his working life.

"Our problem now is to track down exactly where it happened, and our best means of doing so is to find an old workmate who remembers Ian and can provide information on the working conditions they shared.

"We're hoping that somebody may remember his name or his picture and be able to back up his recollections."

Anyone with information that may help Mr Mitchell is asked to contact Phoebe Osborne at phoebe.osborne@ashtonslegal.co.uk

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