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Family’s search after great uncle’s asbestos death leaves wife to die alone

PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 June 2018

Mr Lee is the second from the right on the back row. Picture: Peter Thurlow Public Relations

Mr Lee is the second from the right on the back row. Picture: Peter Thurlow Public Relations

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A brother and sister are trying to get in touch with old colleagues and friends of their great uncle, after he died of an asbestos-related form of cancer.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Lee died of mesothelioma. Picture: Peter Thurlow Public RelationsA post-mortem examination found Mr Lee died of mesothelioma. Picture: Peter Thurlow Public Relations

Bradwell man, Ivor Lee, inset, died last July aged 91 and a subsequent inquest and post-mortem examination found he died of mesothelioma.

The asbestos-related disease often takes decades to develop and Mr Lee’s great nephew and niece, Grant Jones and Leigh Jarvis, are trying to find out where and how he may have contracted the disease.

Mr Lee had been married to his wife Doris for 70 years, spending his retirement caring for her as she lived with dementia.

However, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer he was admitted to hospital and Doris was left without a carer.

Mr Lee worked for British Rail for 25 years. Picture: Peter Thurlow Public RelationsMr Lee worked for British Rail for 25 years. Picture: Peter Thurlow Public Relations

She was then taken into respite care at the James Paget University Hospital where she died on July 10, 2017 – just 20 days before her husband died in the same hospital.

Mr Jones and Mrs Jarvis had been raised by the pair as children, as their own mother died when they were young.

Now, the brother and sister, who live in Great Yarmouth, are trying to acquire evidence of their great uncle’s working conditions in order to determine how he came into contact with asbestos.

Mr Lee spent 25 years working for British Rail, from 1959 to 1964 and again from 1970 to 1990, when he retired.

Over the course of his career with the company, Mr Lee worked as a boiler maker and fitter, as well as a train guard and driver.

He was mainly based at the now closed South Town station, though he did also work at Norwich station.

From 1963 to 1970, he worked as a fitter for Heatrae in Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

While searching through their great auntie and uncle’s personal papers, Mr Jones and Mrs Leigh found a picture of Mr Lee with some of his colleagues from his time at British Rail; they are hoping that by circulating the picture they may be able to make contact with a former workmate of Mr Lee.

Anybody with any relevant information should contact the family’s lawyer, Phoebe Osborne at Ashtons Legal, on 01223 431159 or 07483928171.

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