A former paper mill worker from Lincolnshire, who has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, is seeking help from former colleagues to assist with a compensation claim.

Malcolm Mitton, 72, was diagnosed with the asbestos disease mesothelioma 12 months ago, after suffering from shortness of breath.


It is thought that he may have been exposed to asbestos while working for Towgood and Beckwith Ltd at the Helpston Paper Mill near Peterborough in 1966. The mill closed in the 1980s, and the site has since been redeveloped for housing.

A man holding a paintbrush
Malcolm Mitton was diagnosed with mesothelioma 12 months ago

Workers in paper mills were often exposed to asbestos because the process of making paper from pulp involved heat, and the machinery and pipework were typically lagged with asbestos, which had to undergo repair and maintenance.

It’s alleged that Mr Mitton was exposed to asbestos dust when he was cleaning the pulp room that contained the pipes lagged with asbestos.

Mr Mitton is asking former Helpson Paper Mill workers to come forward with information, particularly those who recall working in an environment that exposed them to asbestos dust during his time of employment.

Mr Mitton said: “It came as a real shock to be diagnosed with mesothelioma decades after I had been exposed to asbestos. Since my diagnosis, I have days when I think I’ll wake up from a bad dream - but I never do.

“I’m a full-time carer for my 97-year-old mother, so it’s been hard to focus on my own health. She needs constant supervision day and night, so I’m not getting the rest my doctor would like me to get.

“I was only working at the paper mill for a couple of months in the summer of 1966, but I do remember working with four medical students at the time. We were recruited by the company to conduct an annual clean-up of the mill.

“I’ve joined some local mesothelioma groups, which have certainly helped me over the past year, the Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team and Mesothelioma UK. I’d encourage anyone who has been diagnosed with the disease not to suffer in silence and seek support, because there is support out there.

“I’d be very grateful if any of my former colleagues can come forward with any information about being exposed to asbestos at Helpson Paper Mill.”

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of lung cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos dust. It can take decades for symptoms to develop after exposure.

According to Cancer Research UK, 2,394 people died from mesothelioma between 2017-2019 in the UK.

Katrina Rowan, a senior specialist asbestos lawyer at Thompsons’ Nottingham office, said: “We would be grateful to hear from anyone who was employed by Towgood and Beckwith Ltd at the Helpson Paper Mill during the 1960s and 1970s.

“Locating such individuals will be invaluable to Malcolm, as they may be able to assist in providing crucial information in building a civil claim on Malcolm’s behalf.

“We hope that we will then be able to help Malcolm answer many questions about his working conditions at the mill.”

Anyone with information should contact Katrina Rowan at Thompsons Solicitors on 0115 9897263 or email katrinarowan@thompsons.law.