Errol Lee, a man in his 70s who worked for many years near Melton Mowbray, has decided that it is time to speak out about how he contracted the disease, having just succeeding in obtaining a six figure compensation settlement from his former employers’ insurers. His hope is that if there are any former work colleagues who might also be showing symptoms of mesothelioma, they too may get a speedy diagnosis and benefit from some financial compensation to give them access to the best possible medical treatment.
Mr Lee spent over 25 years working for the construction company A J Stimson & Son and latterly A J Stimson & Son (Somerby) Ltd as a joiner and a carpenter. The firm’s projects included new builds and renovations in both the residential and commercial sectors. Among the tasks Mr Lee carried out were removing and replacing asbestolux soffits; installing asbestolux ceilings in garages, fitting asbestos bath panels and replacing corrugated asbestos cement sheets in farm buildings. He also spent time working in the firm’s joinery shop where he cut asbestolux sheets to size and swept up the dust created by the fibres.
Throughout the entire period of Mr Lee’s employment by the construction company, his employer’s failed to take adequate measures to avoid or minimise the release of asbestos fibres into the atmosphere. They gave no warnings about the dangers of working with asbestos and didn’t provide any suitable protective equipment.
Mr Lee’s solicitor, and APIL asbestos disease and occupational disease specialist, is Phoebe Osborne of Ashtons Legal. She comments: “Mr Lee was diagnosed in 2019 and fortunately he initially responded well to chemotherapy but during the lockdown his disease has progressed and sadly there is no cure. As part of his settlement it has been agreed that he will be able to access future private treatment and he is hoping to embark on private immunotherapy. A financial settlement can never truly compensate for the loss of good health but it will help to ensure that Mr Lee can make the lifestyle adjustments that he needs while battling his cancer, and that he has peace of mind about his financial future.”
Mr Lee, who now lives in Cambridgeshire having relocated to be closer to his daughter and her family while battling his illness, is being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and is supported by Mesothelioma UK nurse, Kate Slaven who is based at the Royal Papworth Hospital. He has been helped by, and become a supporter of, the national charity Mesothelioma UK and following settlement he has donated valuable funds to the charity.
Lorraine Creech, Mesothelioma UK Head of Nursing, commented: “I would like to thank Mr Lee for raising awareness about his diagnosis of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos during his career as a joiner. The UK has the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world with approximately 2,700 people being diagnosed each year. The awareness that he is providing will hopefully assist with earlier diagnosis and treatment for others like himself, who find themselves in such a difficult situation through no fault of their own. Mesothelioma UK works tirelessly and passionately to improve the treatment, care and support for all people in the UK with mesothelioma and their carers. We are dedicated to raising the profile of mesothelioma to help prevent future cases and make mesothelioma matter.”
Kate Slaven, Mesothelioma UK and Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust added: “I want to pass on a massive thank you to Errol and his family for his very generous donation to Mesothelioma UK. I am lucky enough to be one of the nurses caring for Errol and as a Mesothelioma UK Specialist Nurse, I am aware of what a difference this will make in caring for all of our patients.”