Former Bradford mill worker appeals to ex-colleagues following asbestos-related cancer diagnosis

A 64-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with terminal asbestos-related cancer is seeking answers to questions about how she may have come into contact with the lethal substance during her working life.

Lesley Wilkinson worked at the Grade II-listed Bowling Mills and Douglas Mills premises of the now-defunct soft toy manufacturer, Tebro Toys Limited, in Bradford from 1977 until 1982.

Former Bradford mill worker appeals to ex-colleagues following asbestos-related cancer diagnosis 1

Lesley Wilkinson, pictured around the time she worked for Tebro Toys Limited (Image: Other)

Having received a shock diagnosis of mesothelioma – a cancer strongly associated with asbestos exposure – Lesley is now appealing to former colleagues of hers to come forward with details about the potential presence of the now-banned substance in the old warehouse buildings.

Solicitors from Leigh Day believe that the historic sites could have contained asbestos, including in the building fabric, as well as in lagged pipes and other equipment at the premises. Even the machines used for producing the toys are suspected to have possibly contained asbestos.

“An incurable, devastating disease”

Lesley’s association with Tebro Toys Limited began even before she entered the workplace; during her childhood in Bradford, she used to spend time at the factory with her mother, who worked there at the time.

It was in the same factory where Lesley went on to work in the packaging department during the late 1970s and early ‘80s. Her day-to-day tasks there included packing completed toys into boxes, as well as applying labels to them, and then stacking them in an area in readiness for the wagons to collect them.

After Lesley was told that she had mesothelioma, she reached out to the law firm, which is now looking into whether asbestos was present in the old buildings during her time there.

Louisa Saville, senior associate solicitor in the asbestos claims team at Leigh Day, commented: “Mesothelioma is an incurable, devastating disease that develops decades after an individual’s exposure to asbestos.

“As it is an old mill building, and the type where asbestos often would have been present, we would like to investigate whether Lesley would have been exposed to asbestos here.”

The law firm has called for “anyone with relevant information” to get in touch, including former co-workers of Lesley’s who worked in similar areas of the warehouses, and who can confirm whether asbestos was present where she worked, and how she may have been exposed to the fibres.

Ms Savile added that such information “may be vital” to Lesley’s legal action, and “could help shed light on the potential workplace dangers that may have affected Lesley and others.”

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