Lawyers acting for the widow of a former joiner in Burton are in a desperate attempt to trace his former co-workers following his tragic death from the asbestos cancer Mesothelioma.

John Woodward, formerly of Darklands Road, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, was apprenticed to Burton firm Sharps Brothers and Knights from 1964 until 1970. He died a terrible death from Mesothelioma on 1st July 2006, aged just 57.

Sharp Brothers and Knights was a large joinery business in Burton. Mr Woodward was employed in the specials shop and often made items such as fridges which were lined with asbestos board which he had to cut to size thus exposing him to a large amount of asbestos dust.

John Woodward’s widow Karen explains: “My life will never be the same. John should have been my lifelong companion, but for the negligence of his employer. Before this condition my husband was a dedicated worker and loving husband and father.”

“We are now fighting to secure justice on his behalf. I cannot believe that Sharps Brothers and Knights had such a poor view of health and safety that they continued to expose my husband to asbestos when they knew of the risks or ought to have known of the risks that were involved.”

Linda Millband from Thompsons Solicitors in Nottingham – a firm which specialises in asbestos related diseases - comments: “Extensive searches have failed to locate the insurers of the factory; we need to track them down so we can progress the compensation claim for Mrs Woodward. It’s tragic that so many claims are unsuccessful due to the fact that the insurers for dissolved companies are so difficult to trace.”

Asbestos-related diseases will cause 10,000 deaths a year by 2010 and will be the biggest industrial killer of all time. For somebody like Mrs Woodward it is tragic that she may never receive any compensation because the history of the company is unclear.

It would seem that in about 1969/70 there was a change of ownership and the company may have been taken over by Eliott Windows Limited who then changed the name to John Carr SBK. Thompsons have been unable to find out the exact nature of the transfer of the business or who the Insurers were at that time.

Could anyone who has worked for the company or has information regarding the insurers please contact Linda Millband on 08000 224 224.