‘Dad had a huge lust for life’ – Family’s tribute as inquest held into father’s death

The hearing took place at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Beacon House, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

The hearing took place at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Beacon House, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Su Anderson

The family of a much-loved Suffolk father who had a “huge lust for life” have paid tribute to him at an inquest held into his death aged 77.

James 'Jim' Pettitt, who was born in Bredfield near Woodbridge but lived in Haverhill in his later years, died at the West Suffolk Hospital on October 1, 2019, aged 77.

Daughters Lesley Stubbings and Joanne Slack attended an inquest into his death at Suffolk Coroner's Court today alongside his partner June. Mrs Slack told the hearing her father had started his career in 1961 as an apprentice carpenter before taking on a variety of other roles in construction. He was dedicated to his work and only stopped around six months before his death when he became increasingly unwell from asbestos-related diseases.

"My dad had a huge lust for life, for travel and for his family, and his work," Mrs Slack told the inquest, describing her father as "kind and loving".

"That just sums my dad up. He lived in Australia, south Africa - he travelled the world, and that was his passion."


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Widower to Georgina, Mr Pettitt was described as being a "stoic" individual by respiratory doctors who treated him at the West Suffolk Hospital. The inquest heard that even when he became very ill, he did not want to know what was happening to him, having seen various friends endure treatment for related illnesses. Medics had treated him with antibiotics but he had declined a referral for a biopsy and surgical intervention. He died in hospital on the morning of October 1, 2019.

Area coroner Jacqueline Devonish read evidence to the hearing from Dr Simon Whitehead of the Guildhall Surgery who said his respiratory problems began back in 2012 but his symptoms had worsened at the beginning of 2019.

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In April, he became increasingly breathless and experienced chest pain. He was referred to the West Suffolk Hospital for urgent treatment, but his condition deteriorated and he died six months later. The coroner recorded Mr Pettitt's cause of death as being due to cardiorespiratory failure as a result of chronic pneumonia secondary to asbestosis and bronchiectasis, combined with severe coronary artery disease. She concluded that the 77-year-old, who she said "clearly displayed strength" even when he was seriously ill, died as a result of an industrial disease.

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