Relatives of a former employee at one of Doncaster’s most well-known factories, ICI Fibres, who lost his life to cancer are urging his former colleagues to come forward with information about asbestos use on-site.

Alan Beesley was 85 when he died from lung cancer and asbestosis. Doctors confirmed both conditions had been caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres earlier in his life.

His family suspect he was exposed while working at the ICI Fibres factory on Wheatley Hall Road, a nylon spinning plant that was one of the town’s largest employers before its demolition in 2000.

Mr Beesley worked as a process worker for the firm from 1966 until his retirement in 1991. While he did not handle asbestos directly, his family believe that he may have been exposed to the toxic fibres when repairs and lagging work took place nearby.

Alan Beesley

His family turned to law firm Thompsons Solicitors to support a them with a compensation claim, and are looking for people in the community to come forward if they have information about the presence of asbestos at the factory to support the case.

Mr Beesley’s son, Mark, said: “My dad worked there for decades and was recognised for his hard work with an award at a long service dinner in 1985. It’s heartbreaking to think that the job he gave so much for, might have been the cause of what took him away from us.

“Practically anyone who lived in Doncaster throughout the late 20th century would have known of ICI Fibres – locals often called it the ‘White Lady’ because of its unique appearance.

“We are confident there will be someone out there who knew my dad and will be brave enough to come forward with information to help us pinpoint when, and where, he was put at risk.”

Paula Wrigley, of Thompsons Solicitors, added: “ICI Fibres was known for nylon production but it was a much more dangerous ‘fibre’ that caused Mr Beesley’s death.

“The factory closure may be a distant memory for some, but what went on behind its doors will live with his family for a long time to come. We hope this appeal will get them the answers they need, and we welcome any information that can assist with the case. Our goal is to find those responsible for Mr Beesley’s death and hold them to account.”

To support with the appeal for information on the working conditions at ICI Fibres Ltd, specifically between 1966 and 1991, please contact Paula Wrigley on 01512 241608 or