How we use Cookies

Cancer dad’s call to former workmates in fight for compensation

A former labourer living with incurable cancer has made a plea to his workmates to help him gain compensation.

TRAGIC: John Owen, centre, with his two sons Michael and Steven

A former labourer living with incurable cancer has made a plea to his workmates to help him gain compensation.

John Owen has issued a claim dealing with the period he worked for the Accrington Brick and Tile Company Ltd at the firm’s Nori Brickworks on Whalley Road, from 1965 to 1969, aged 22.

John claims he was exposed to dust daily and that asbestos was commonly used for its fire retardant properties.

The brickworks company no longer exists.

In March 2010 John, now a great grandad, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of incurable lung cancer.

The 68-year-old, who now lives in Leeds with wife Lillian, said life has become difficult since his diagnosis. He said: "I have always been fit and healthy so I was gob-smacked when I was diagnosed. I knew I had worked with asbestos during my time as a labourer but never believed it would lead to this.

"I’d be grateful if anyone who worked for the company or who has made a claim against them to come forward as they may have information which could help."

John added: "They haven't told me how long I’ve got left to live – I don’t want to know. I get out and about with my border collie McKenzie and I want to focus on that rather than be sat in an armchair wondering.

"When I retired aged 65, I thought ‘this is it’, me and my wife can have this life as it is together. But this knocked me back. It is upsetting.

"I’m very close to my wife and family but have to slow down and I know it will get worse."

John, a dad-of-four and grandad-of-nine, had fluid withdrawn from around his lungs in an operation immediately after being diagnosed two years ago. He has undergone four doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy since. The Nori Brickworks factory closed in 2009 after demand for brick fell.

David Weeks, of factory owners Hanson Building Products, said brick production no longer takes place there. He said: "As far as claims go, I don’t know if we have responsibility for this. "But we would be quite happy to discuss any claim with Mr Owen."

Thompsons Solicitors are dealing with John’s case and said they are not sure who the employers liability insurers are for the period of Mr Owen’s exposure.

 

Journalists

Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Crime
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Reporter
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist