Family of railway worker who died from the ‘Swindon disease’ receive compensation
Geoff lived in Swindon from the age of 3 and was 86 when he died.
Geoff was a lovely man who was well thought of in Swindon where he lived. He retired in 1994 but had led a very active retirement. He was a lover of amateur dramatics and was the President of the Western Players in Swindon. He enjoyed sport over the years including football, cricket and badminton. He had a good social life and enjoyed taking holidays with his wife Eileen, who he married in 1962.
Geoff was sadly exposed to asbestos dust whilst working for the Great Western Railway in Swindon. He undertook an apprenticeship at the age of 16 in 1947, completing it in 1952. He then undertook his National Service but subsequently returned to the Swindon Railway Works in 1954 where he remained until 1963 when he was made redundant.
He then spent a few years working outside of the railway industry as an inspector at Pressed Steel and also for the Home Office as an industrial civil servant. Work subsequently became available again at the Railway Works with British Rail taking on more staff. Geoff returned there in 1974 until 1986.
Throughout his time at the Railway Works Geoff was a coach finisher and was predominantly involved in repair work in shop 24 which involved stripping and refurbishing train coaches.
Our specialist asbestos disease solicitor, Jennifer Seavor acted for Geoff and he told her that all of the train carriages had asbestos insulation in them, whether they were old or new so being exposed to asbestos dust was unavoidable. Whether he was fitting panels in new coaches or ripping panelling out of existing coaches so they could be refurbished. He was exposed to asbestos dust from the insulation which was sprayed on to the carriages for fire proofing.
Back in those days, Geoff was not provided with any breathing protection or given any warnings about the dangers of asbestos even though the company were or ought to have been aware of the developing knowledge regarding the dangers of asbestos.
Geoff retired in 1994 and had enjoyed good health. Sadly, in June 2017 he began to experience symptoms of shortness of breath and had noticed that he was loosing weight. Coincidentally, whilst out for a morning walk in July 2017, he stumbled upon a ceremony in Queen’s Park which Royds Withy King had organised to support national Action Mesothelioma Day. Only a few weeks later, following a chest x-ray and CT scan, Geoff himself was diagnosed with mesothelioma. At the time Geoff told Jennifer “it was an absolute shock to me. I really thought that after all these years of being in good health and managing to avoid any problems relating to asbestos that I had gotten away with it. It is difficult to comprehend how many years it takes from exposure for things to develop.”
Geoff was supported by his wife Eileen and son Adrian and his many good friends. He was also cared for at Prospect Hospice.
Jennifer was able to assist Geoff with obtaining benefits from the Government to which he was entitled as a result of his diagnosis and an admission of liability and an interim payment if £50,000 in respect of his legal claim. The claim was subsequently settled in August 2018 with a compensation award of over £100,000.