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Upminster grandmother makes emotional appeal for information on factory conditions after 'devastating' asbestos cancer diagnosis

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 March 2019

Violet Newton, from Upminster, who is pictured centre, right, with her colleagues at the factory.

Violet Newton, from Upminster, who is pictured centre, right, with her colleagues at the factory.

Violet Newton

A grandmother-of-four is appealing for help in finding out why she contracted an asbestos-related cancer.

Violet Newton, from Upminster, has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer.Violet Newton, from Upminster, has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer.

Violet Newton, 69, from Upminster, has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of terminal cancer which often develops decades after exposure to hazardous asbestos.

On her behalf, asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are investigating to help discover how she became ill and asking for information on the conditions at Metal Box Ltd, at its Great Guildford Street site in Southwark where she worked between 1966 and 1980.

“I am completely devastated by my diagnosis and found it shocking that it could well be linked to my working life.

“I continue to suffer from bouts of breathlessness and that is very hard to take, but for the most part my main concern is ensuring I spend enough time with Michael [her husband], my daughters and grandchildren, they have all been so supportive.

“I just feel that I deserve some answers regarding how this could have happened and whether it should have been avoided.

“I’d be grateful to anyone for their help.”

Violet joined the company as an apprentice finisher and while the company produced food packaging, the factory in Great Guildford Street focused on manufacturing paper goods and her work related to preparing cheques for a range of banks.

She recalled: “The site was a huge premises which contained a host of large machines and several floors, yet it always felt very dirty and cramped.

“Pipework ran through the factory and this had been insulated.

“Looking back, I’m fairly sure now that this was asbestos insulation.”

At the beginning of 2018, Violet noticed she was struggling with breathlessness and following a series of tests, it was confirmed she had mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung linked to asbestos exposure.

Asbestos expert at Irwin Mitchell, Ian Bailey said: “Violet and the rest of her family are understandably devastated by her diagnosis and have a number of questions how she may have been exposed to asbestos.

“Therefore we would appeal for anyone with information about working conditions at Metal Box Ltd, particularly the Great Guildford Street site, to come forward and help Violet and her family.”

If anyone has information, contact James Aiken at Irvin Mitchell on 0117 926 1528 or email james.aiken@irwinmitchell.com

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