The family of a man who died from an asbestos disease is calling on his former colleagues from some of London’s biggest infrastructure projects for help with a compensation claim.

John Dent, from North Yorkshire, died in July 2020 just seven weeks after being told he had suspected mesothelioma, the asbestos-related lung cancer. Sadly, that diagnosis was unable to be confirmed in his lifetime, meaning he died – aged 76 - without knowing that his exposure to asbestos had caused his early death.

 

After spending time in the Army, in the Green Howards Regiment, Mr Dent joined French Construction, later known as French Kier, Kier London and now known as the Kier Group, in 1971. He worked for the firm in the London and Colchester areas up until his retirement in 2008.

It is during these years that John’s son, Scott, believes his dad was exposed to asbestos. He remembers his dad working on projects including the London Underground, Waterworks Corner on London’s North Circular, the Thames Barrier at Barking Reach and at Homerton Hospital in Hackney. Friends of John’s also remember him working on an extension to Hammersmith Hospital. He was employed as a ganger man, meaning that he was in charge of groups of employees, and Scott believes his dad would have been well known by many employees.

 

John Dent
John Dent

Scott said: “Our family was shocked when my dad’s diagnosed with mesothelioma was confirmed after his death. He was a larger than life character, always so fit and active and loved nothing more than helping out in the local community. We even ran our own grass cutting business together, looking after our village environment.”

“Losing him this year has been truly devastating. No-one should suffer as much as he did during his last weeks. We really want to understand where and how he came into contact with asbestos and are looking for information – however big or small – from anyone who worked with dad.”

Mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos and often develops decades after exposure. According to the Health and Safety Executive, mesothelioma killed 2,446 people in Great Britain in 2018.

Mr Dent’s family is being supported by Thompsons Solicitors, who paved the way for asbestos litigation in the UK ever since it brought about the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972.

 

Helen Tomlin, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “John’s family want and deserve answers. To lose their dad to such a terrible disease was a huge blow this year and the way he suffered will never leave them. We are working with them to try and piece together the story of John’s career and, in particular, where and how he was exposed to mesothelioma.

“Any help or information we can get from colleagues who worked with him from 1971 to 2008 would be really helpful and hopefully provide some answers for the family.”

 

John Dent
John Dent

Thompsons Solicitors only represents workers and their families who have developed asbestos diseases and never acts for employers or insurance companies. It is one of a handful of specialist firms in the UK to be a member of the Mesothelioma UK Legal Panel in recognition of its expertise.

Anyone with information should contact Helen Tomlin at Thompsons Solicitors on 0113 205 6385.