The family of Iris Armstrong, who lived in Fencehouses, are appealing for colleagues employed at the clothing factory N Hyers Ltd, later known as Bairdwear, to come forward with any information about the presence of asbestos onsite following her death.

In April 2018, Mrs Armstrong was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal form of lung cancer. She died just over a year later, aged 82.

Joining the Fencehouses-based firm as a machine operator in 1968, Mrs Armstrong rose through the ranks to become manager. In this role, she would visit the boiler room to chase up maintenance workers, who would be working on steam pipes. It was here that she was likely exposed to deadly asbestos dust.

Throughout her employment at the factory, Mrs Armstrong was never warned of the dangers of asbestos in her workplace. Now, Mrs Armstrong’s family are hoping to contact her former colleagues and other employees to help piece together any more details about her exposure to asbestos at work.

Iris Armstrong image

Mrs Armstrong’s daughter, Lisa Clennell, said: “It was incredibly sad seeing my mam’s health deteriorate so quickly.

“We are keen to shed a light on this issue – not only to find answers for my mam, but to see if anyone else has been affected in our community.”

Heather Ruddick, asbestos disease and mesothelioma solicitor at Thompsons, said: “Asbestos is a deadly killer and we have seen first-hand the impact this toxic dust can have on communities across the UK.

“We are appealing for any individuals employed by clothing manufacturer N Hyers Ltd, later known as Bairdwear, in Fencehouses to come forward with details about the presence of asbestos in the clothing factory to help Mrs Armstrong’s family obtain the closure they deserve.”

If you have any information to support this appeal, please contact Heather Ruddick on 0191 2690449 or