The family of a Bristol man, who lost his life to mesothelioma just one month after being given the all-clear from bladder cancer, are seeking answers as to where and how he was exposed to the asbestos.

James Deacon, known as Jim, who lived in Claverham – a small village between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare, died at the age of 75 in December, less than a month after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related illness. He had recently won his battle with bladder cancer after two months of radiotherapy.

 

An image of Jim Deacon facing the camera

Jim Deacon worked as a structural engineer for various firms in Bristol and the West Country from the 1960s until he retired in 2010. His family are now appealing to former colleagues to come forward with any information about how he may have been exposed to asbestos.

They believe that he could have been exposed to asbestos when he worked as a structural engineer for the following firms: MAC Engineering, SAC Consultants, Clarke Nicholls & Marcel, Trevor Cocker & Partners, Clarke Bond Partnership, Marble Mosaic Co Ltd, Hastings Clements & Associates, GM Technical, Bath & North East Council and ABATEC – all of which are situated in and around Bristol. He also did surveying work on the Rhone Poulenc Chemicals site in Avonmouth.

He had just been given the all clear when he received the devastating news about mesothelioma.

Jim Deacon's son, Tim

Colleagues of Mr Deacon may remember him as a gifted player of badminton and tennis. He played regularly and to a high level in Western-super-Mare and closer to home in Claverham. Mr Deacon also devoted much of his life to the cubs and ran the local group at Cleeve, Claverham and Yatton.

His son, Tim Deacon, said: “Dad loved to play sport and remained very fit and active well into his fifties. In recent years, he struggled with a number of health conditions, most notably bladder cancer. He had been receiving radiotherapy for two months at Bristol Royal Infirmary and had just been given the all clear when he received the devastating news about mesothelioma. We lost dad just before Christmas, which was heart breaking, and we know that Christmas will never be the same again.

“We want to find out where dad was exposed to asbestos and would like to hear from anyone who may have worked with him at any point in his career. His job meant he was out on site at times, but much of his work was also office-based, preparing drawings and plans for developments.”

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.

A photo of James Deacon looking at the camera

Mr Deacon’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. As a point of principle, Thompsons only represents workers and their families who have developed asbestos diseases and never acts for employers or insurance companies. It is also 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.

 

Nicholas Seymour, from Thompsons Solicitors who is supporting the family in an asbestos disease claim, said: “Jim’s family are devastated to have lost him and need answers. If anyone has any information, no matter how small or insignificant it seems, please come forward as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information should contact Nicholas Seymour at Thompsons Solicitors on 0117 304 2471 or email NicholasSeymour@thompsons.law.co.uk.