A local family is urging former employees of Vickers Limited at the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard to help aid a compensation claim following an asbestos-related death.

Catherine Bradley died in December 2019, after a short battle with the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma.

Her family believe she was exposed to asbestos when she worked as a cleaner at the Barrow shipyard, employed by Vickers Limited. From 1974 to 1975 she worked on the M.S. Odessa ship.

Mrs Bradley’s husband, James Bradley, also worked at the shipyard from 1974 to 1991, where he would often be near colleagues mixing asbestos powder and handling other asbestos products. Before his death in 2003, he developed another asbestos illness – pleural plaques – and the family believe that Mrs Bradley was exposed to asbestos through the work of her husband.

The family is being supported by social justice law firm Thompsons Solicitors, which has a long-standing reputation for representing the victims of asbestos related disease, having brought the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972.

Catherine Bradley’s daughter, Margaret Bradley, said: “The Barrow shipyard was a huge employer for our local community, so we are hoping that there will be someone who worked with either of my parents and who can confirm the use of asbestos there. We would be especially interested in anyone who worked on the M.S. Odessa in 1974 or 1975 as that was the most likely source of my mother’s exposure.

“To lose a parent to an asbestos illness is tragic. All we want now is the answers as to how my mother was exposed so we can try to put this behind us.”

Catherine Bradley
Do you recognise Catherine Bradley?

Mesothelioma is a fatal form of asbestos-related cancer that can take decades to develop from the smallest level of exposure to asbestos. While men are typically considered to be more at-risk of developing the disease, this toxic substance has left a legacy for women as well, not just as grieving widows, sisters, daughters and friends – but also as victims of asbestos-related disease.

According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, of the 2,446 mesothelioma deaths recorded in Great Britain in 2018, 396 were women. This equates to approximately one in every six cases and is consistent with previous years.

Gill Connelly, of Thompsons Solicitors, who is supporting the family, said: “Asbestos diseases have long been seen as a ‘male issue’ – but clearly this is not the case. We are seeing far too many cases of women falling ill because of historic asbestos exposure, either as a result of their work or through second-hand exposure from other family members.

“We are urging anyone who worked with Catherine in the mid-1970s, or those who worked with James during his career, to come forward with information and help the family’s cause.”

Anyone with information should contact Gill Connelly at Thompsons Solicitors on 01912 690 454 or email gillconnelly@thompsons.law.co.uk.