The daughter of a Yorkshire mill worker, who died as a result of an asbestos-related cancer, is calling on colleagues who worked with her in the 1950s and 1960s to help understand where and how she contracted the disease.

Patricia Collins, formerly Garaghan, from Staincliffe, Batley, left school at 15 and took up a job in the local mills, where she worked alongside her best friend Margaret. Her employers at that time included J R Burrows, Carlinghow Mill, A. Gibbs, Rag Trade Limited and Stanley Beaumont Ltd Mill in Batley. She also went on to work for the Plessey Communications telephone factory near Heckmondwike and West Riding County Council, before going into the pub trade with her husband, Ronald.

During her time in the mills, Mrs Collins would be responsible for sorting undergarments, including petticoats and work fabrics before they were recycled as part of Yorkshire’s world-famous textile industry.

It is possible that Mrs Collins was exposed to asbestos dust during those years and now her family have sought the help of social justice law firm, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a claim for compensation.


Patricia Collins
Do you recognise Patricia Collins?


Julie Cooper, Mrs Collins’ daughter, wants answers. She said: “Mum was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2021 and died just five days later. She had been bed-ridden for three months and was in hospital for Christmas. We managed to get her home at the end of December so she could spend her final days with her family.

“It was heart breaking to see her so poorly for the last three months of her life. She had always been the most active great-grandparent to her 13 great grandchildren. She was genuine, kind, funny and always there for everyone.

“We just want to know where and how she was exposed to the asbestos. So many people worked in these industries at the time that someone must be able to help.”
Charlie Bradley is one of the specialists at Thompsons Solicitors, which has 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.

He said: “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, as exposure often occurred in male-dominated industries such as manufacturing and construction, 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.

“Mrs Collins’ family is experiencing how asbestos exposure in the past is continuing to have tragic consequences on families today. We are hoping that either Mrs Collins’ former colleagues or the families of her former colleagues, particularly from the days when she worked in the mills, can help us understand when and how that exposure might have occurred.”

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.

Anyone with further information should contact Charlie Bradley on 0113 205 6385 or