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Dying Man Seeks Facts Over Incurable Disease

A devoted grandfather of three who is dying from asbestos related cancer has appealed for help from his former workmates. Bury pensioner, David Barnes is suffering from mesothelioma – a deadly cancer caused by inhaling asbestos dust.

The 81-year-old wants employees of the textile mills in Heywood and Oldham where he worked during the 1950s to 1980s to come forward with information about working conditions there. Mr Barnes worked in clerical and sales roles for a company called I & J Hyman, which had mills in Heywood on Adelaide Street and in Oldham on Derker Street. After developing a cough and shortness of breath in October last year he was given antibiotics for a chest infection. They made no difference and after a few weeks he was referred to hospital where he was found to have a collapsed lung. Further tests revealed the news he had mesothelioma which was inoperable, malignant and incurable.

Mr Barnes said: “It was a massive blow but after I came to terms with it I decided to fight as hard as I could and try to find out how I could have contracted such a devastating disease. “This disease has had a dreadful effect on my life”. “I am virtually house bound and can no longer care for my wife Pamela, who herself has a heart condition and finds it difficult to do very much around the house.”

Mr Barnes claims there was extensive use of asbestos in the boiler rooms of the two mills. He says he was never given any warnings on the dangers of asbestos and not provided with a mask or any protection.

His Solicitor Mr Patrick Walsh at Pannone Solicitors who is a specialist in industrial disease cases and is representing Mr Barnes, said: “the Heywood and Oldham mills both had large boiler rooms where we believe asbestos lagging was used and it seems there was asbestos lagged piping elsewhere in the mill.

I am extremely interested to talk to anyone who worked at either Hyman mill at any time from the 1950s to the 1980s.

“It is important we build a picture of the working environment there and any information would be treated in strict confidentiality.”

Mr Barnes added: “It is so frustrating to know had I been told of the dangers of asbestos by my employer and given a simple mask for use in dangerous areas, I would not be suffering now as I am.

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